Exhibitions News India

New Dehli show and symposium will focus on India's rapid growth

Local artists’ group Raqs Media Collective to organise the programming for events in 2014

The Raqs Media Collective (left) is organising "Insert 2014" Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi

An exhibition and symposium focusing on politics and social issues in India is due to take place early 2014 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, a 25-acre compound in the centre of New Delhi. Following the launch of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale earlier this month in Kerala, southern India (until 13 March 2013), the month-long event, entitled “Insert 2014”, is the latest attempt to put India on the global contemporary art map.

The Delhi-based artists’ group Raqs Media Collective will oversee the programme, which encompasses site-specific works by local and international artists, as well as artist-led workshops and lectures. The three-day symposium, “The City in the 21st Century”, will focus on India’s transformation into an emerging superpower and rapid urbanisation.

"The best of international literature, cinema and music are very much a part of the life of contemporary culture in India... One could say that in these three areas, Indian practitioners and [the] public participate in a truly global landscape. However, that is not yet the case with contemporary art," say Raqs Media Collective.

"While several artists based in India exhibit widely in the world, there is not yet a reciprocal flow of the best and most critical tendencies within international contemporary art into India. This could be because of a variety of logistical and infrastructural issues, but also because of an innate conservatism of the world of visual arts here." 

The project is backed by two foundations: the Mumbai-based Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation and the HUB Foundation for Contemporary Art in London. The former was founded in 1976 by Indoo Shivdasani and is registered as a charitable trust in Liechtenstein. It awards scholarships to Indian students enabling them to pursue post-graduate studies abroad but hopes to explore “the major social trends occurring in India” during Insert 2014.

Ashley Sands, the director of the HUB Foundation for Contemporary Art and Culture, says: “We want the inaugural Insert programme to launch a new model for exhibition-making, with the potential for a roving, large-scale blueprint that can then be used in different international destinations.”

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