The year 2015 marked the 20th year of IFA supporting projects that speak for our country’s staggering diversity in its arts practice, education and research. We have supported work across disciplines and genres, and in turn it has become a rich repository of artistic reflections, questions, and engagements with our shared histories. This journey over 500 grant projects is a treasure trove for artists and scholars across the world.
However, all this material is scattered across the IFA office, calling for an archive to house the digital and physical traces of the multiple histories of the arts and culture in India—its turns, shifts and fractures. This engagement will also provide us with a narrative of an independent grantmaking body.
We hope that the archive will enable artistic and curatorial interventions, becoming both the canvas and stage for abundant interpretations. It will provide access to the work of the many marginal, mainstream, silent, loud, and whispered voices from the larger linguistic, geographical, cultural, and other communities that envelop and contextualise us. If one delves into this material imaginatively, there will emerge multiple possibilities for a deeper understanding of a shared history of the arts.
The work towards this archive has begun, but we have a long way to go with the many processes that need to be completed. We have begun cataloguing and identifying the gaps in the materials on hand, and need to continue with the same while also contacting past grantees for permission to make some parts of their work public, structuring and framing the logic of the archive, building and implementing software systems, and ensuring that there are enough resources for creating the archive.
We are delighted that the Lohia Foundation spearheaded by Aarti Lohia has generously committed to supporting the building of this archive over the next four years. We look forward to this new journey that we have undertaken.