Supported by Tata Trusts, Students’ Biennale is an exhibitory platform that runs parallel to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Kochi Biennale Foundation reaches out to art schools across South Asia, encouraging Fine Arts students to reflect on their practice and exhibit on an international stage.
The fifth edition of Students’ Biennale is led by a team of seven curators - Afrah Shafiq, Amshu Chukki, Anga Art Collective, Arushi Vats, Premjish Achari, Suvani Suri and Saviya Lopes & Yogesh Barve. Each curator is assigned a minimum of three states for their research, college visits, workshops and student-project shortlisting. This edition invites students to present ideas, works in progress, collaborative and finished works along with material developed during the workshops. A total of 50 projects will be presented by the 7 curators.
Students’ Biennale Co-Lab envisions itself as a facilitator to create an impact at the grass root level of art engagement. Its focus is to devise student-centric programmes that depart from the conventional language of art making.
The larger goal is to make art accessible through collaborations, site-specific interventions and local interactions and build communities and construct context-specific nodal forums across India that foreground the regional specificities and alternative methods of knowledge production which are informed by the locale and diversity across genders, caste and class.
It is also a potential site to incubate the research outcomes generated via curator-led workshops for the Students’ Biennale 2022-23 exhibition. This edition includes a dedicated workshop space in Fort Kochi.
Workshops have emerged as an essential component of the Students’ Biennale through its past editions. The curatorial workshop engages with students who may not be part of the initial shortlist from the open calls. These workshops also address gaps in the existing pedagogical structures while allowing for a long-term engagement with the students to begin.
Led by prolific writers, critics and editors of the most cutting-edge and visionary publications from across the world, this upcoming workshop is modelled as a co-thinking and co-learning forum. There are diverse ways to think and write about the arts, and the workshop hopes to facilitate approaches through a collectively intuited exercise
This workshop intends to develop a diversity of perspectives on the form and medium of the exhibition to provide a structured and experimental inquiry into the possibilities of curatorial practice today. It aims to support creative thinking by building an infrastructure for making and exhibiting contemporary art.
The 2022-23 edition will be curated by 7 art practitioners/collectives - Afrah Shafiq, Amshu Chukki, Anga Art Collective, Arushi Vats, Premjish Achari, Saviya Lopes & Yogesh Barve, and Suvani Suri. Though each curator is given a ‘region’ for research and selection, the realisation of the exhibition in Kochi is done collaboratively. The Students’ Biennale exhibition will open on 13th December 2022 and will run parallel to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale for 4 months
Afrah Shafiq is a Goa-based artist whose work emerges from field research, documentary practices and archival material, subverting ways of looking at the familiar. She is currently a Field Research Programme Fellow, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow.
Amshu Chukki is a multidisciplinary artist from Bengaluru who articulates ideas of landscape and cities at the intersections of life, cinema, infrastructure, politics, and fiction. His solo show "Different Danny and Other Stories" was recently shown at Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai.
Assam-based Anga Art Collective, founded in 2010, engages with socio-geographical landscapes, examining artistic responses to regional specificities. The ‘studio’ gives way to the fluidity of ‘process’ as they collaborate with rural communities, academics, and activists.
Arushi Vats is a curator and a prolific writer based in New Delhi. Her essays have appeared in Art India Magazine, LSE International History, Critical Collective and in catalogues by Serendipity Arts Foundation. She was a resident at La Napoule Art Foundation, France (2022).
Premjish Achari teaches art history and theory at Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida. He founded Future Collaborations to promote politically informed curation in contemporary art practice. He recently curated All Canaries Bear Watching, GRID Heritage Project, Delhi (2022).
Saviya Lopes and Yogesh Barve were visual art practitioners at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai. Their practices overlap in terms of history, community and education. They were fellows for the Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do) Forum, Gwangju Biennale 2016.
Suvani Suri is an artist/ researcher who thinks through listening, working with sound, text, and intermedia assemblages. Her practice is informed by the techno-politics of sound, aural/oral histories and the relational and speculative capacities of voice.