Reading in Tongues: Natasha Ginwala and Anushka Rajendran with Cecilia Vicuña


Date: Saturday, August 7, 2021
Time: 19:30 – 20:30 Colombo | 18:00 – 19:00 Dubai | 15:00 – 16:00 London
Language: English

Reading in Tongues launches its virtual programme with an inaugural reading of the poem-manifesto ‘Language is Migrant’ by Cecilia Vicuña, followed by an introduction to Colomboscope festival’s theme Language is Migrant and its reading room initiative titled ‘Reading in Tongues’. Drawing on a range of artistic and literary practices including Gloria Anzaldua’s Letter to Third World Women Writers (1979), curators Anushka Rajendran and Natasha Ginwala in dialogue with Sabih Ahmed address how acts of self-publishing, live readings and sonic narratives are a central motif to visual expression and collective aesthetics in the South Asian subcontinent and beyond. The tongue is considered a living form exposing that language is never neutral, while modelling expressions of rebellion, the mutation of inheritance and a shelter for poesis to emerge. ‘Reading in Tongues’ is envisioned as a convivial junction where estranged dialects, invented language, sonic vibrations are embraced by engaged listening and performative reading.

This event is presented in the context of ‘Reading in Tongues’, a four-part virtual programme organised in partnership with Colomboscope as part of the festival’s seventh edition Language is Migrant. For more information, click here.

Cecilia Vicuña
Artist-poet Cecilia Vicuña (b. 1948) created the concept of Precarious Art in Chile in 1966, an early response to the ecological crisis. Her improvisatory performances emphasize indigenous cultural memory and the collective nature of action to bring forth justice, balance and world transformation. Vicuña is the author of 27 books. She lives and works between New York City and Santiago, Chile. 

Natasha Ginwala
Natasha Ginwala is Associate Curator at Gropius Bau, Berlin and Artistic Director of Colomboscope Festival and the 13th Gwangju Biennale with Defne Ayas. Ginwala has curated Contour Biennale 8, Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium and was part of the curatorial team of documenta 14, 2017. Other recent projects include Arrival, Incision. Indian Modernism as Peripatetic Itinerary in the framework of “Hello World. Revising a Collection” at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, 2018; Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future at ifa Gallery Berlin and Stuttgart, 2018; My East is Your West at the 56th Venice Biennale, 2015; and Corruption: Everybody Knows with e-flux, New York, 2015. Ginwala was a member of the artistic team for the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, 2014, and has co-curated The Museum of Rhythm, at Taipei Biennial 2012 and at Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz, 2016–17. Ginwala writes on contemporary art and visual culture in various periodicals and has contributed to numerous publications. She is a recipient of the 2018 visual arts research grant from the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

Anushka Rajendran
Anushka Rajendran is a curator and writer based in New Delhi. She is the curator for Prameya Art Foundation (PRAF), a not-for-profit arts organisation based in New Delhi committed to approaches that enable audience-thinking for contemporary art in India. She is also the Festival Curator of the 2021 edition of the interdisciplinary arts festival in Sri Lanka, Colomboscope, Curator of Video Art for the 2021 Asian Art Biennial, organised by National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, and was assistant curator for Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018. Her ongoing research traces how the notion of ‘public’ has acquired alternative significance to contemporary Indian art since 2004. Her previous MPhil research at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, focused on the emergence of installation art in India in the early 1990s to address collective and personal trauma, which has since expanded to encompass the South Asian region.