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India Foundation for the Arts
Newsletter Edition 31
February - April 2015
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Hello readers!

We are back with the many exciting happenings at IFA during the months of February, March and April, 2015!

We are delighted that in the year 2014-15 we made 40 grants and fellowships, the highest number ever awarded by IFA in one year! This takes the total number of projects supported by IFA to over 400 across research, practice and education, with a commitment of Rs 21 crores to the field, in almost every corner of the country! It has indeed been an enriching journey that will continue for us with new learnings every year.

We are excited to announce the launch of the second edition of Project 560! An IFA initiative partnered by Citi India, Project 560, 2015 seeks to encourage artists across disciplines to creatively engage with found spaces in our home city of Bangalore, re-imagine them and bring them alive. Last year, we made six grants to artists and collectives from Bangalore that led to over 127 performances by over 80 artists in the three months across 21 spaces that included roads, flyovers, markets, factories, construction sites, bridges, city walls, and playgrounds. This culminated in The Project 560 Festival and a seminar, over three days. This year, while we encourage Bangalore-based artists to apply, Project 560, 2015 is also open to artists from across the country to come and create art works in Bangalore. The Request for Proposals is out now. This year, we are also inviting residents of Bangalore to curate walks around the city; 16 walks will be conducted between August 2015 and March 2016. For more details, click here. You can visit our website to know more about Project 560, 2014.

Announcing Project 560, 2015
Announcing Project 560, 2015

We would like to thank you for your overwhelming support towards increasing IFA's presence online. We crossed 6000 'likes' on Facebook last month! Your love and support on our social media platforms continue to help us expand the reach of our work. Do visit our pages on Facebook and Twitter and share your thoughts with us so that we can better our work.

Please do read on to know everything about our work in the last few months. We hope you enjoy the contents of this newsletter. You can write to us at for any feedback that you may have. We would love to hear from you!

The IFA Team


Programmes Publications
Events Slant/Stance
Announcements Support Us

Arts Research (AR)

After a panel of external experts reviewed our research programme last year, we announced the launch of the re-articulated Arts Research programme in April. This was conceptualised as per the recommendations made by the panel of experts comprising of Susie Tharu, MD Muthukumaraswamy, Aneesh Pradhan and Rahul Roy. Under the re-articulated Arts Research Programme we now support scholars, researchers, and practitioners to undertake research into the various histories and expressions of artistic practices in India. It seeks to foster wider perspectives, understandings, interpretations and engagements in the arts. The Request for Proposals (RFP) is out now. We specifically encourage projects in Indian languages other than English, so as to contribute to discourse in particular language contexts. The last date for receipt of draft proposals is May 31, 2015 and final proposals is June 30, 2015. Do apply and spread the word!

Arts Practice (AP)

We made four grants under this programme:

Sumona Chakravarty received support for a series of workshops culminating in a two-day public art festival in the historic Chitpur locality of old Kolkata. These workshops are designed to re-energise and activate this locality which has a rich history and heritage, through various cultural activities, innovative audience engagement and archiving with the help of local residents, businessmen, artists, craftsmen, teachers and students. This project will result in a website, an exhibition and a DVD documenting the process.

Arghya Basu received support for a series of workshops with the multiethnic communities of the eastern Himalayan regions of Sikkim and northern parts of West Bengal. It is a collaborative and multidisciplinary project that involves local music, myths and traditions dealt with a cinematic lens that pushes the idea of cinema as an art form. Described as an ‘interdependent cinema project’, the workshops will lead to a film, a graphic novel, a music album and finally a documentary installation exhibition.

Abhishek Majumdar received support for a series of workshop processes conducted by a theatre group to explore and create a methodology of physical alphabets for theatre. Over a period of eight months the workshops will experiment with nonverbal explorations of textual themes and integrate them in the process of theatre making. A detailed documentation of the processes including everyday rehearsal notes, photographs and occasional audio-video material will be the outcomes.

Sharanya Ramprakash received support for the creation of a theatrical production that explores the position of women, roles of women characters and streevesha (female impersonation) within the male dominated practice of Yakshagana. Drawing from research and personal experience, the performance imagines a reversal of roles in the popular Yakshagana plot of Draupadi Vastrapaharana, thereby exploring the conflicts around tradition, gender, power and morality inherent in the form. The performance is scheduled to premiere in Udupi in November 2015.

Arts Education (AE)

As you know, under our Arts Education programme, we support teachers and artists across Karnataka to work on arts projects under our Kali Kalisu initiative at Government schools. We made four new grants under this programme during this period:

Rajeev Gowda (Chikkaballapur District, Karnataka) will be working with students at the Kuvempu Centenary Govt Higher Primary School to create a local integrated workbook on language and mathematics drawing from the children’s everyday life experiences.

S Siddaraju (Hassan District, Karnataka) will be introducing local art forms like Kolata and Tatva Pada to students at the lower primary school to explore rhythmic patterns of poetry.

Annappa Ontimalagi (Shivamogga District, Karnataka) will be introducing a research based experience of exploring history for the higher primary school by conducting one such study of a local chieftain by the name Shivappa Nayaka.

Venkatesh G Naik (Uttara Kannada District, Karnataka) will be exploring the local Yakshagana form to help develop language and oratory skills amongst higher primary school students.

Partner A Master Student Exhibition at Vismaya Gallery, Rangoli Metro Art Center, Bangalore
Art1st Partner A Master Student Exhibition at Vismaya Gallery, Rangoli Metro Art Center, Bangalore

In other news, Art1st Partner A Master, a seven-month engagement with students that IFA had undertaken last year with Mumbai-based Art1st Foundation, concluded with a week-long students’ exhibition and a one-day arts education seminar titled 'Who is the Arts Teacher?' at the Rangoli Metro Arts Center from March 01-10, 2015.

Glimpses from student's work, Partner A Master Student Exhibition at Vismaya Gallery, <br />
                          Rangoli Metro Art Center, Bangalore
Glimpses from student's work, Art1st Partner A Master Student Exhibition at Vismaya Gallery,
Rangoli Metro Art Center, Bangalore

The exhibition showcased art works of 25 student participants produced as a result of interactions with the seven ‘masters’. The participating artists included Suresh Jayaram, Ravikumar Kashi, Surekha, C F John, Biju Jose, George Mathen and Suresh Kumar G.

The seminar looked into the definition of an ‘arts teacher’. The artists and teachers presented at the seminar and discussed relevant questions such as 'Where does one find this teacher?'; ‘What makes them an arts teacher for schools?'; 'What, in pre-service teacher training programme, prepares them to become an arts teacher?’.

Archival and Museum Fellowships

IFA collaborated with the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC) to award three Archival Fellowships to Afrah Shafiq, Vishwajyoti Ghosh and Sujaan Mukherjee to work with the cultural history archive at the CSSSC which contains a wide variety of visual genres from eighteenth and nineteenth century Bengal including books, journals, popular paintings, prints, posters, hoardings, advertisements, and commercial art productions.

Afrah’s research will culminate into a series of short videos that will portray stories of resistance of women in the nineteenth century loosely themed around ‘Women and Impudence/Cheeky Girls’.

Vishwajyoti will visually reinterpret some of the moral science text books from nineteenth century India with the visuals and popular iconography of that era to form a new body of work.

Sujaan will trace the history of tourism in Calcutta beginning in the nineteenth century and will focus on the ways in which the city has been represented by and for the ‘outsider’. The outcome could take various forms such as a curated guided tour, a guidebook, a digital map that represents the different histories of Calcutta’s heritage.

In addition to the above three fellowships, we also awarded Moushumi Bhowmik with a fellowship to research into the field recordings, texts and photographs of the Dutch ethnomusicologist Arnold Bake, during his time in Bengal from 1925 to 1934. Based on this archival material gathered from various archives in India and abroad, she will construct histories of music and portraits of people and places, thus adding to and energising the existing archive for folk music, The Travelling Archive which was also supported by IFA. The outcomes will be an exhibition and a book.

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We organised two fundraisers in Bangalore in the last three months. Our grantee Mahmood Farooqui, with Danish Husain, performed Dastangoi: Tales of adventure, magic and epic wars at Chowdiah Memorial Hall on March 6, 2015. We would like to thank ICICI Prulife and our individual donors—Kavita Iyer, Sandeep Singhal, and Bharat Kashyap who helped make this fundraiser possible. On April 25, IFA brought Motley Theatre’s latest production, Einstein featuring Naseeruddin Shah at Chowdiah Memorial Hall. We thank The Prestige Group for sponsoring this successful fundraiser and the audiences for braving the rains to make it to the show. We would also like to thank the Motley Theatre for their continued support of IFA. Keep an eye out for our next fundraiser!

Danish Husain (left) and Mahmood Farooqui enthrall audiences with Dastangoi, at the IFA fundraiser, 
Chowdiah Memorial Hall, March 6, 2015
Danish Husain (left) and Mahmood Farooqui enthrall audiences with Dastangoi, at the IFA fundraiser,
Chowdiah Memorial Hall, March 6, 2015

We organised four grant showcases in Bangalore and two in Mumbai during the past few months. In Bangalore, on February 15, we organised Exploring Education through the Arts—an exciting line-up of presentations by four teachers—Gururaj L from Koppal District, Prajna Hegde from Haveri District, Madhukar M L from Chamarajanagara District and Chitra V from Dharwad District—shared the stories of their projects in their respective schools at Rangoli Metro Art Center. We hosted an exciting evening of puppetry with our grantee Anurupa Roy, Togalu Gombeyata master Gunduraju, two artists—animation-designer Aditi Chitre and theatre actor and light designer Vinay Chandra—who addressed the need for building a robust discourse and pedagogy for puppetry in India, at The Park, Bangalore on March 04. Surpanakha–Explorations in Kathak by our grantee Ashavari Majumdar was especially organised for our Friends of IFA and the Donor Patrons, at The Park, Bangalore on February 27. We also organised a book launch of A Socio-political history of Marathi Theatre Thirty Nights by our grantee Makarand Sathe on March 19. Noted theatre personality Arundhati Nag launched this three-volume set which encapsulates the diverse history of Marathi Theatre over 175 years in Bangalore, at the Bangalore International Centre. Arundhati Nag spoke passionately about the need for supporting such cultural and historical texts, and applauded IFA.

IFA Teacher Grantees - Prajna Hegde, Madhukar ML, Gururaj L and Chitra V (left to right) present their work, 
Rangoli Metro Art Center, Bangalore
IFA Teacher Grantees - Prajna Hegde, Madhukar ML, Gururaj L and Chitra V (left to right) present their work,
Rangoli Metro Art Center, Bangalore

On February 13, 2015, IFA grantee Yousuf Saeed presented on Tasveer-e-Urdu: Historical and socio-political relevance of printed images from popular Urdu literature of early 20th century, at the third edition of the Lucknow Literary Festival, Scientific Convention Centre, Lucknow. At the same festival, another IFA grantee, Epsita Halder presented on Pain as Piety: Glimpses of Muharram from West Bengal on February 14, 2015. Epsita's presentation at the Lucknow Literary Festival was supported by South Asian Women's Fund (SAWF).

In Mumbai, we organised two grant showcases. In partnership with Junoon, we premiered a performance piece, Across, Not Over by our grantee Vikram Iyenger at Sitara Studio on March 25. This work, which fragments the Kathak body and re-presents it in newly-assembled poetics, is choreographed by Preethi Athreya, also an IFA grantee. We also organised a screening of the film on the Tsungkotepsu shawl painting tradition of Nagaland, Every Time You Tell A Story by our grantee Ruchika Negi at the Sakshi Gallery on March 26.

We organised four MaathuKathes at our office—a musical evening with The Bangalore Harmonica Club; for the first time at our MaathuKathe, IFA in collaboration with the Sandbox Collective, hosted a play Cheruvannur Diaries—Typewriter Tales by the Chennai-based theatre group Perch; an engaging evening tracing the contributions of courtesan singers to the cultural ethos of the twentieth century, by Ajay Cadambi; and renditions of Rabindrasangeet by Sarbari Gomes. MaathuKathes are bringing in new audiences and friends to our office every month and we love the conversations that happen with the artists at the end of every MaathuKathe evening. We hope you will be able to make it to our next MaathuKathe in the month of May. Do check out events section in this newsletter for more details.


From our MathuKaathes (clockwise) - The Bangalore Harmonica Club, Paul Mathew (Cheruvannur Diaries), 
Sarbari Gomes and Ajay Cadambi
From our MathuKaathes (clockwise) - The Bangalore Harmonica Club, Paul Mathew (Cheruvannur Diaries),
Sarbari Gomes and Ajay Cadambi

Lastly, we hosted seventeen of our new grantees at the IFA office for our Grantee Orientation, a two-day interactive session. As you might know the Grantee Orientation serves as a platform to build relations among the grantees as well as between them and IFA. They presented their projects to the staff and other grantees. One of the grantees, filmmaker Arghya Basu said, “The grantee orientation is an amazing space for the grantees to interact with the entire IFA team. We get to understand how the organisation works and also meet other artists whose work I have never heard of and who we would have never met otherwise”. We had two exciting days of interesting interactions, exchange of ideas and animated conversations.

Upcoming Events

The following event is scheduled for the month of May:
bird_bullet BANGALORE  
  Ameen Haque, The Storywallahs Shades of Love with Ameen Ul Haque
May 29, 2015 | 07:00 PM
The IFA Office
An evening with the Storywallahs who will share stories of love and hope; less of a 'theatre performance' and more of stories, told in an informal and conversational style
Language: Hindi/Hindustani & English
Age: Above 15 years of age
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive our updates. For more details, write to

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bird_bullet   The Arts Research programme invites proposals, both from artists and scholars, who are interested in undertaking research projects that could investigate marginalised or relatively unexplored areas; who intend to create spaces for dialogue between theory and practice; who offer new readings/frameworks of artistic practices; and who use interdisciplinary approaches to break new conceptual ground, among other things. The last date for receipt of draft proposals is May 31, 2015 and final proposals is June 30, 2015. DETAILS.

bird_bullet   Project 560, 2015 invites proposals from artists across disciplines who wish to create works in found spaces in Bangalore city. The last date for receipt of draft proposals is May 15, 2015 and final proposals is June 15, 2015. DETAILS.

bird_bullet   Project 560, 2015 also invites residents of Bangalore to curate walks around the city. Sixteen walks will be supported by IFA between August 2015 and March 2016. The last date for receipt of draft proposals is June 05, 2015 and final proposals is June 30, 2015. DETAILS.


We have an interesting set of publications to offer which include postcards featuring our grantees' work, books and back issues of our magazine ArtConnect. You can avail of special anniversary discounts on Limited Edition collections. All the proceeds from the sale of publications go back into grantmaking.
To know more, write to

IFA POSTCARDS Set 1 Beyond the Proscenium Embroidering Futures: ArtConnect Limited Edition
Introducing our first ever set of IFA POSTCARDS!
Own one today!
Suggested contribution:
Rs 200
For details, write to
Beyond the Proscenium: Reimagining the Space for Performance
Edited by Anmol Vellani
176 pp., Rs 300, US $20
Click here to buy online.
Embroidering Futures:
Repurposing the Kantha

Edited by Ritu Sethi
192 pp., Rs 400, US $30
Click here to buy online.
20 years: Limited Edition - Set of 9 ArtConnect back issues
Buy Now at Rs 700 only
Click here to know more.
To buy ArtConnect, write to
Buy both and get a discount of Rs 100!
Click here to know more.

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Kush Badhwar is a filmmaker interested in shifting definitions of traditional mass-media, collaborating with unorthodox actors and using artistic intervention for improvised and informal political engagement. He has exhibited his work at Sarai Reader 09: The Exhibition, Experimenta, Forum Expanded, Berlinale, South Asian Visual Arts Centre's Monitor 10 and 11 and will show at Videobrasil later this year.

Last year, he received an Archival Fellowship from IFA for research, collation and documentation of materials from archives related to the practice of the revolutionary poet, Gaddar, who has been an active advocate for a separate state of Telangana.

Stroke of the midnight hour as Hyderabad transitions from Andhra Pradesh to Telangana
Stroke of the midnight hour as Hyderabad transitions from Andhra Pradesh to Telangana

IFA: How did you start your journey into researching the archives of individuals involved with the birth of Telangana?

Kush Badhwar: After working with Word Sound Power on the Blood Earth project, in 2012, vocalist Delhi Sultanate, Chris McGuinness, and music producer, asked me to join them in Hyderabad to document their process of collaborating musically with Gaddar. During this time, we spent some time in the collection of Gaddar’s nephew who has been archiving his uncle’s work in whatever form possible, namely audio, video, photographs and print. I was interested by what I saw and heard, but the engagement was too short. That’s something we had been discussing in Word Sound Power generally about shorter engagements pushing one towards certain forms and conclusions. So in processing the time spent and the material generated in then Andhra, I was looking at ways to address those problems and find ways to operate that might be longer, less formulaic and less conclusive.

I understood some things about the cultural material around Telangana and how it is collected: it was produced with a certain utility related to a time and place; it was too new to enter state or institutional archives and it represented resistance to Andhra Pradesh as a state and would therefore find it that much more difficult to enter particular domains. If it wasn’t abandoned, it would exist in the domains of individuals who are either authors of it or are invested in the material in other ways. I also understood that there would be a flip in perception towards this material if Telangana should form—it would shift from representing resistance to power, to representing a ‘legitimate’ history of power. So around this, I sketched a framework that would allow these questions to play out, that took into account historical matter, contemporary events, and sites where these two things rub against each other.

When I approached Gaddar with this framework, he put me on to a keystone of Telangana-related culture that has a large, varied collection and is invested politically in what might happen to not only his collection, but such material generally. At the time, there was also discussion emerging about what would happen to Hyderabad as a capital and the institutions, departments etc. that exist here. To follow that, I also approached the Andhra Pradesh State Archives and Research Institute (APSARI) about engaging with them to see how state formation plays out in their walls.

IFA: What are the various collections you are accessing for your research?

Kush Badhwar: Each collection has its angle and also difficulties in access, so I’ve found it necessary to bounce between collections. The APSARI collection is made up of primarily government records, a combination of both Nizam records and Andhra-related records from the erstwhile Madras Presidency. This will most probably split with the Nizam records going to Telangana and the Madras Presidency records to Andhra. However, it will be housed in the same building till whatever is decided next.

With certain personal collections, there are interesting things happening: one individual is negotiating with the government for the creation of a museum/library; another is in the process of independently making a library to house his old and large collection from the Deccan region. Symbolically half-way between Hyderabad and the to-be Andhra capital, and others are celebrating or restoring certain work in order for it to be acknowledged. I’ve also been looking at materials held by a Madiga community outside of Hyderabad who have records of their community such as their genealogy, genesis etc. on scrolls, palm-leaf manuscripts and engraved on metal sheets.

Workers deconstruct an image after the signing-in ceremony of the Chief Minister of India's newest state
Workers deconstruct an image after the signing-in ceremony of the Chief Minister of India's newest state

IFA: Although historically the birth of a new state is significant, as a filmmaker what is your interest? Why do you want to research the birth of Telangana?

Kush Badhwar: Some of the things that interested me were the great amount of cultural matter that was produced, claims of authenticity and performances of identity that exist within such material; the opportunity for a break in the genealogy in the library, museum, archive and personal collection that could come with political change; lastly, of course, I was interested in the here and now-ness of political change and observing things unravel first hand, at times in a dramatic, saga-like fashion, as the state came into being.

Prior to this project, I had been working with other individuals in a collaborative mode. By way of collaboration, political subject matter had crept into my work. Though at a personal level I was often ambivalent about politics, I was interested to explore it through my work, and see how it might rub off on me. Since Andhra Pradesh was one of my last points of call and the project there felt incomplete, it seemed the logical place to continue from. I was interested to come from some distance into a sudden proximity to the subject for a sustained period, and see what might come out by way of ideas, images and experience. Now that I’m neck-deep in it, the material has, to some degree, invaded my thinking and being, and now ambivalence co-exists with a fuller range of experience.

IFA: What will be the outcome of your research?

Kush Badhwar: I’ve been taking photographs in a growing repository of images of the new state intersecting with interventions in existing archives/collections. I’ve been collecting printed material, sound and video and generating video that I hope to make into a video work. Some of the printed material I’ve been collecting is either old or newly self-published books and political pamphlet which formally interests me. I’m considering that form with material that’s emerged from my own experiences. In the framework, I had also set out to consider sites of contemporary discourse as potential sites for exhibition. The idea was to not only consider my work as export material, but to see how it could enter into dialogue with a discourse particular to here and see what would come of that. So though there’s been a drop in number of such sites, post-statehood, and some of the other sites that do still remain would, at this stage, be too far a leap for my involvement. I have been finding ways to keep this idea in mind such as contributing my photography to people’s research, involvement with publications in Hyderabad, community radio and the like.

Also, I have made a nine-minute video piece called Work Starts Now. It is shot on the day Telangana became a state, a short while after KCR’s signing-in ceremony as chief minister. In that, some workers chit-chat while they deconstruct his image. It was shown late last year in the exhibition Love in the Time of Choleric Capitalism at What About Art in Mumbai, curated by Gitanjali Dang. It also showed recently at South Asian Visual Art Centre’s Monitor 11: These Monsters are Real at OCAD University, Toronto, curated by Azar Mahmoudian and Leila Pourtavaf. Love in the Time will show again in Jawarharlal Nehru University later this year, so it might be an opportunity to show this again or newer things I’m working on.

Mobile still of Hyderabad's largest Ganpati
Mobile still of Hyderabad's largest Ganpati

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Support Us

India Foundation for the Arts makes grants to artists, scholars and institutions throughout the year. For all these exciting projects to take shape, we have to constantly raise funds. We would like to thank our donors who have supported us and made the many projects possible in the last few months. We would especially like to acknowledge the support from Anupama Menda and the partnership with Citi India, South Asian Women’s Fund and Titan Company Ltd.

You can support and engage with IFA in many ways—by becoming a Friend of IFA or a Donor Patron or even by sponsoring our fundraising events and by spreading the word about IFA. Every contribution counts.

bird_bullet   Become a Friend of IFA
Support us by becoming a Friend of IFA. As a Friend, you will be contributing directly to philanthropy in the arts and increasing the presence of the arts in public life. It starts at just 3,500/- a year and your donation is tax-deductible under 80G. You will receive exclusive access to IFA events and our Annual Reports. Become a Friend of IFA.

bird_bullet   Become a Donor Patron
We invite you to donate generously and join IFA's Donor Patron Circles and be a part of the IFA family. By joining IFA's Donor Patron Circles, you can choose to contribute directly to our Corpus or support a specific grantee whose work is of interest to you; you can underwrite operational costs or extend your support to any one of our programmes. Donor Patron circles include Platinum, Gold and Silver categories. Patrons receive a mention in our Annual Report; get exclusive access to IFA events and more. Learn more about our Donor Patron Circle.

bird_bullet   You can support us by sponsoring our events, inviting our grantees to showcase their work at your workplace or home, or even attending our events, and forwarding this newsletter to your friends who are interested in the arts. If you would like to support IFA in anyway, please contact Menaka Rodriguez at

bird_bullet   You can also support us by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter and Youtube. Stay tuned to know more about our projects, initiatives and exciting events!

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