Leading curators, Anushka Rajendran, curator of Prameya Art Foundation, Neeraja Poddar, The Ira Brind and Stacey Spector Associate Curator of South Asian Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rattanamol Singh Johal, Assistant Director, International Program at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Sabih Ahmed, Associate Director and Curator of Ishara Art Foundation and Vidya Shivadas, Director of the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) share their observations on the shifting landscape of curation and criticism in the arts today. The discussion will investigate the crucial role of the curator in contextualising and activating the power of art in society. The conversation will be moderated by Arnika Ahldag, Head of Exhibitions at MAP Bengaluru.
Generously supported by JSW and curated by researcher and arts manager, Priya Chauhan, ART ACROSS —— celebrates the power of critical dialogue and the critical need for celebrating the arts. Spanning key issues in art, design and architecture from a variety of perspectives including from institutions, market experts, philanthropists and creatives, the series aims to foster an inclusive platform to explore contemporary culture, with South Asia at its centre. All talks will also be conducted in Indian Sign Language.
Anushka Rajendran: Anushka Rajendran is the curator of Prameya Art Foundation (New Delhi) and also works independently as a curator and writer. Her ongoing curatorial research traces how the notion of public has acquired alternative significance to contemporary art in recent years, as well as the aesthetics of engagement within exhibition frameworks. This is informed by her previous research on responses by artists living in India in the 1990s to political and cultural trauma which has since expanded to encompass the South Asia region. She was the Festival Curator for Language is Migrant, the 2022 edition of Colomboscope, the only interdisciplinary arts festival in Sri Lanka and was on the curatorial team for Kochi Muziris Biennale 2018. Other recent projects include, Omer Wasim, Rites Adrift, Khoj Studios, 2023 (New Delhi); Yoshinori Niwa, Rehabilitating our human spirit under capitalism, Japan Foundation/Prameya Art Foundation, 2023 (New Delhi); Like Cupping Water with their Hands, PRAF at Focal Point, Sharjah Art Foundation, 2022 (Sharjah, UAE); Language is Migrant, Warehouse421, 2022 (Abu Dhabi); Phantasmapolis: Looking Back to the Future, Asian Art Biennial 2021-22, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 2021 (Taiwan); And yet the air was still stirring, Fundación Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Madrid, 2021-22 (Spain); Anatomies of Tongues, Chobi Mela Shunno, 2021 (Dhaka); Speculations on a New World Order, Shrine Empire, 2020 (New Delhi); and Between the Lines, Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, 2019 (Japan). She has published essays in several publications including anthologies, academic journals and artists’ monographs and is currently editing a monograph on Anoli Perera’s life and work.
Neeraja Poddar: Neeraja Poddar is The Ira Brind and Stacey Spector Associate Curator of South Asian Art at Philadelphia Museum of Art, and a Research Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Art History and Archaeology from Columbia University, and was previously curator at The City Palace Museum, Udaipur.
Rattanamol Singh Johal: Rattanamol Singh Johal is Assistant Director of the International Program at MoMA, where he works on the global research initiative, C-MAP, and the Primary Documents publication series. He also co-chairs the Museum’s Contemporary Working Group, members of which organize displays of collection works from the 1980s to the present. He earned a PhD in Art History from Columbia University and has held fellowships at the Whitney Independent Study Program and Tate Research Centre: Asia.
Sabih Ahmed: Sabih Ahmed is the Associate Director and Curator at the Ishara Art Foundation in Dubai. Ishara was founded in 2019 as a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting contemporary art of South Asia via exhibitions, collaborations and collection building.
Vidya Shivadas: Vidya Shivadas is a curator based in New Delhi. She is the Director of the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art, a non-profit arts organisation that works in the field of art education and aims to broaden the audience for contemporary Indian art, enhance opportunities for artists, and establish a continuous dialogue between the arts and the public through education and active participation in public art projects. Shivadas has curated a number of exhibitions at the Vadehra Art Gallery since 2005 as well as guest curated exhibitions at Devi Art Foundation, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, and Edinburgh Art Festival. She is the visual arts curator for Serendipity Arts Festival 2023. Shivadas is also Visiting Faculty at School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University Delhi since 2013.
Arnika Ahldag: Arnika Ahldag is the Head of Exhibitions at the Museum of Art & Photography, where she curated Mindscapes: In the Company of Others, With great ease: The photography of TS Satyan, and was co-curator of What the Camera Didn’t See and part of the curatorial team of MAP’s inaugural exhibition Visible/Invisible. As an art historian her interests cover the representation of labour in Indian contemporary art, institutional critique, exhibition histories and archives. She holds a PhD from the School of Arts and Aesthetics at JNU and an MA from University College in London, UK and Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany. She co-founded the Feminist Syllabus, which is part of the workshop series Pact of Silence, How to break it, a programme for intersectional feminist discourses in the arts.