Curators' Hub Blog 2017

30th July 2017 - Day 3

Niyatee Shinde, of JSW, started off the day by reminding us of the origins of the word ‘curator’, although now understood to be a collector of ephemera, say, an expert manipulator of visual deconstructions – a curator is also a custodian, and perhaps this formed the premise for today. What is curatorial responsibility?

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29th July 2017 - Day 2

Can the ‘renouncing of the new’ provide us with a formula for modernity? This is Reem Fadda’s proposition as we begin today. Coming from a Palestinian context – which Fadda knows to be a “laboratory” for surveillance and security practices that get exported to most global cities across the world – she is more interested in reparative readings.

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28th July 2017 - Day 1

‘Language is a migrant.’
By Skye Arundhati Thomas

With the opening line of this Cecelia Vicuña poem, Natasha Ginwala set up for us a frame. Language, ‘tears at those stable identities,’ said Hammad Nasar. That it is time we ‘reset the national conversation about home,’ and, ‘learn to live with our partitioned selves.’

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25th July 2017 - In Conversation with Hammad Nasar

Skye Arundhati Thomas in conversation with Hammad Nasar.

How does one navigate the politics of display when it comes to presenting work from South Asia in big international shows, particularly in N. America and Europe? Is there yet a tendency to Orientalize?

While there is increasing appetite for complexity, and some efforts at building capacity, the recurring tropes of “Festival”, “Mela”, “Indian Summer" and “Tamasha” remain depressingly familiar as frames for South Asia-focused programming in the UK – even now in 2017.

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22nd July 2017 - In Conversation with Ruba Katrib

Skye Arundhati Thomas in conversation with Ruba Katrib.

Working with sculpture as you do, I have noticed that you get asked about materiality and surface often. Can the discussion of sculpture ever move away from its material?

Sculpture engages in the material register, even when seemingly immaterial. This is an inherent position for sculpture, one that other mediums can certainly engage in, but is less urgent than it is within sculpture. I do think it is important to consider the materials of art, and their social, political, and economic implications.

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22nd July 2017 - In Conversation with Natasha Ginwala

Skye Arundhati Thomas in conversation with Natasha Ginwala

People are still calling the art scene in the subcontinent nascent – even though we have seen several careers mature and develop through the past couple of decades, and even further back. Would you agree? As such, what would you say are the primary difficulties faced by arts institutions in the subcontinent still?

Let us not forget there isn't a unilateral art world, but rather a multitude of art worlds that are uneven yet continuously generative and ever more related.

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20th July 2017 - In Conversation with Nada Raza

Skye Arundhati Thomas in conversation with Nada Raza.

How does one navigate the politics of display when it comes to presenting work from South Asia in big international shows, particularly in N. America and Europe? Is there yet a tendency to orientalise?

It varies a lot, and often it depends on what perception the institution has of its audience. In England, Tate Modern is quite different for instance, from the British Museum or Victoria and Albert Museum, or sometimes, even Tate Britain. These institutions have colonial history to contend with, which is reflected in the collections and persists in their attitudes toward South Asia.

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19th July 2017 - In Conversation with Roobina Karode

Skye Arundhati Thomas in conversation with Roobina Karode.

People are still calling the art scene in the subcontinent nascent – even though we have seen several careers mature and develop through the past couple of decades, and even further back. Would you agree? As such, what would you say are the primary difficulties faced by arts institutions in the subcontinent?

No, I wouldn’t call the art scene in South Asia nascent. We have our own institutional histories, multiple modernisms and art historical narratives. One can say that the European and American focus on modern and contemporary art from the subcontinent is a recent phenomenon.

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18th July 2017 - In Conversation with Pedro de Almeida

Skye Arundhati Thomas in conversation with Pedro de Almeida.

Some of the most interesting writing I have read of late has emerged from the arts. As someone who also writes extensively, what would you say is the potential for critical writing practices in the arts? This is also to ask – what role do you think art criticism plays in the arts today?

Before we ask what role might it play, we should ask who, exactly, reads art criticism? From Diderot until now I don’t think we’ve ever really reached a fixed conclusion.

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17th July 2017 - In Conversation with Prateek and Priyanka Raja

Skye Arundhati Thomas in conversation with Prateek and Priyanka Raja.

Now in its seventh iteration, how do you feel the Curator’s Hub has evolved over the years? It's interesting that it is not guided by theme – but more by individual curatorial practice - why?

The Experimenter Curators’ Hub seven years ago found its roots in the urge to understand, critically discuss and debate what curators do when they make exhibitions. We as gallerists have had the privilege to see some spectacular exhibitions all over the world and felt there should be a space and time to revisit these exhibitions through the eyes of the curators who made them possible. We have kept the fundamental need to learn at the hub’s core and have focused on building a strong programming for it, and to make it more accessible.
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