Khoj International Artists Association

Curatorship
2004-2005

Grant Period: Over three Years

KHOJ sees its role as an incubator for art and ideas, artistic exchange and dialogue in the visual arts. Through their programming they aim to assist and develop forms of art such as media art, performance, video, environmental, public and community based art, sound and other experimental modes of cultural production.

The Khoj Artists’ Workshops have developed a reputation over the seven years of their existence for sustaining a much-needed platform for collaboration and sharing in the visual arts in India. KHOJ has helped develop a South Asian network for the visual arts by facilitating workshops and residencies in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (with Nepal to follow suit shortly).

The Students’ Residency Programme is an extension of the short-term residencies for artists that Khoj started in 2002, after it acquired a permanent studio in Khirkee village outside Delhi. The Residence programme provides an opportunity for students from different schools to interact, stimulating a discussion on the nature of arts education in the country. The feedback of previous residents bears out Khoj’s views, and reveals an overall enthusiasm for such a programme.
Accordingly, from the next round of the residency onwards, Khoj will put in place a mentorship programme, wherein two volunteers from its network of artists will directly provide feedback, guidance and support to each resident. Responding to the question of how playing a mentoring role was interesting or useful for her own practice, sculptor Kristine Michael wrote that being part of Khoj has been instrumental to her own development as an artist and that she wished to share with other artists this sense of being part of a community that Khoj provided for. “One of the most important roles of a mentor is to help the protégés better define the nature of their life’s work, the life-long creative development that indicates that the individual’s sense of purpose provides a general direction along which a career develops over time. In dynamic tension with this purposeful direction is the urge to pursue interesting opportunities that lie beyond the path of career development.”
It will be interesting and useful to track not just the Students’ Residencies but their implications for Khoj’s development as an organisation over the three years of the grant. Additionally, it seems to be concerned with consolidating what it has built on, though at the moment this concern is only taking the form of documenting and disseminating the live encounters and art works that its residencies and workshops generate. How Khoj will move towards establishing deeper formal structures for activities essentially meant to encourage informality, interactivity and fraternising, remains to be seen.