Grant Period: Over three years
Khoj International Artists’ Association was established in 1997 in Delhi as a key alternative forum for Indian artists, actively encouraging experimentation, collaboration and exchange through its residencies and workshops. Khoj has been instrumental in linking Indian contemporary artists with art communities in Asia, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas. With a view to encouraging and facilitating dialogue, exchange and curatorial collaborations between artists, curators and the art constituency, Khoj has been identified as the Nodal Centre for Visual Art Curatorial Practice, as part of the Curatorship programme. This grant allows Khoj to host three curatorial residencies, conduct an art writing workshop and organise a four-day international seminar on critical curating. The residency was envisioned for four Indian and international curators who will be invited to the Khoj Studios in Delhi and the other two nodes in Bangalore and Guwahati. The duration of the residency will be two months, and shall culminate in a project/exhibition curated by the two selected curators. As part of its mandate, Khoj will focus on bringing in young professionals from across India and the South Asian region. The effort lies in pairing an international curator with an Indian counterpart by raising funds from cultural centres like the Alliance Française, the Goethe Institute, Pro-Helvetia, the Japan Foundation, and the British Council.
The resident curators will delve into Khoj’s rich aural, visual and textual archive of past projects, to identify themes to curate process-based art practices. They shall also have complete access to the Khoj library, stocked with publications on critical theory and visual art practice as well as catalogues of important South Asian exhibitions. While archival exploration will form the backbone of these residencies, the curators shall engage in the cultural specificity/identity of the location within the national network in which they are situated. The first curators-in-residence programme will be hosted at Khoj Delhi, the second at Bangalore, and the third at Guwahati. Khoj will also conduct a week-long art writing workshop, conceived primarily for young professionals to understand culture writing in the realm of the visual arts. Discussions/exercises will be held with scholars, collectors, artists, and writers. Workshop themes shall include the history of art writing and the relationship between criticism and history; writing about the Indian art market; catalogue writing; writing in art criticism; and art history and artists’ biographies. The Art Writing Workshop will take place in February 2012.
A four-day international seminar will be held at Khoj Studios Delhi in collaboration with the De Appel Curatorial Training Programme, Amsterdam, and the Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo, with the aim of encouraging cross-cultural dialogue on curating practices. The lecturers and moderators include major art/curating experts from India, Australia, China, UK, Belgium, Hungary, Egypt, Germany, and Brazil. The seminar shall take place in February 2013. The Khoj website will be updated constantly with information related to the curatorial projects. Khoj’s unique approach of learning by exchange has played a catalytic role in the context of contemporary art practice in the country. The young curators in residence shall benefit not only from the support and exposure provided by Khoj, but together they will help expand the definition of curatorial practice and showcase a model that can be adopted by other institutional spaces.