Staging the Contemporary: The Next Generation


Dates: January 6-7, 2022
Time: 3:30 pm – 7:15 pm (Dubai) | 4:30 pm – 8:15 pm (Islamabad) | 5 pm – 8:45 pm (Delhi/Colombo) | 5:15 pm – 9:00 pm (Kathmandu) | 5:30 pm – 9:15 pm (Dhaka)
Registration: Closed
Video Recordings: Links provided for each panel below

Ishara Art Foundation and India Art Fair are pleased to present a two-day symposium featuring the next generation of practitioners shaping contemporary art in South Asia.

Conceived as an online symposium and a knowledge platform, Staging the Contemporary aims to bring together a generation of artists, curators, collectives and writers born since the late-1980s to deliberate on the urgencies, methodologies and infrastructures that lay new foundations for cultural practices today. The practices invited for the symposium stem from experiences of a generation that came of age in the wake of accelerated, world-changing events. Since the 21st century, the world has witnessed epochal shifts ranging from waves of economic recession, environmental crises, a new era of world wide web through personalised devices, the rise of religious fundamentalism and xenophobia, and a surge of social and political uprisings that include the Arab Springs, the Umbrella Movement, Black Lives Matter and Metoo. In each of the instances, it is impossible to designate these scenarios and movements simply as local or global as they occupy both registers, urging new ways to think about the contexts of art, institutions and society.

Through a series of presentations, panel discussions and conversations, the symposium hopes to create a convening of various formal, material, philosophical and ideological positions taken by practitioners as a way to map emergent vocabularies and concepts that set the stage for contemporary discourse. The programme explores questions pertaining to how artists and thinkers approach artistic infrastructures, support systems, collaborations, media, publics and the wider historical and geographic contours of their work. The event will lead up to an online platform that will launch in the summer of 2022 consolidating a database of artist-led initiatives, collectives, publication projects and institutions supporting the new generation of practitioners in South Asia.

Speakers in the symposium include Moonis Ahmad, Samira Bose, Nihaal Faizal, Aziz Hazara, Najrin Islam, Jasmine Nilani Joseph, Natasha Jozi, Natasha Malik, Annalisa Mansukhani, Maksud Ali Mondal, Senjuti Mukherjee, Kaushal Sapre, Protick Sarker, Mohit Shelare, Bazik Thlana, Aasma Tulika, Arushi Vats, Omer Wasim, Pramodha Weerasekera, Sultana Zana, Anga Art Collective, BlueJackal, Her Pixel Story, Kaali Collective, Offset Projects, Reliable Copy, Restricted Fixations, The Packet.

The organisers wish to thank Samira Bose, Najrin Islam, Natasha Malik, Annalisa Mansukhani, Sarker Protick, Pramodha Weerasekera and Arushi Vats for their valuable inputs in conceiving the symposium.

Staging the Contemporary: The Next Generation is made possible with the generous support of Shiv Nadar University.

Programme Schedule

Day 1: January 6, 2022

Welcome note and PANEL 1: Curatorial Methodologies
What are the urgencies felt by curators today based in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka? What are the commonalities and what are the differences? This panel features institutional and independent voices marking the diversity of positions on what in each of their views constitutes curatorial practice.
Moderator: Samira Bose                     
Speakers: Natasha Malik, Annalisa Mansukhani, Protick Sarker, Pramodha Weerasekera

PANEL 2: Artistic Practice: Mediatic Environments 
How are artists responding to the rapidly changing technologies and media environments in the Global South? Reflecting on the critical challenges entailed when working with and through multiple interfaces, this panel looks at the changing attitude towards mediums, sites and practice in an increasingly hybrid world of the virtual and actual.
Moderator: Kaushal Sapre
Speakers: Moonis Ahmad, Aziz Hazara, Omer Wasim, Sultana Zana

PANEL 3: Artist Publications and Platforms
There has been an exponential growth of artist publications in the past decade that foreground new modalities of dissemination, sustainability and image making. This panel looks at the different aesthetic, material and ideological choices underpinning such practices.
Moderator: Annalisa Mansukhani
Speakers: BlueJackal, Offset Projects, Reliable Copy, Restricted Fixations

Day 2: January 7, 2022

Welcome Note and PANEL 4: Collective Consciousness
“What does it mean to be a collective?” is a question that resists any standardised response. Every collective pushes society to consider new ways to self-organise and imagine practice – how one thinks together, works together, creates together and sustains together – oftentimes at odds with systems that privilege the individual. This panel delves into 4 collectives in South Asia, exploring their inception and how they operate.
Moderator: Nihaal Faizal
Speakers: Anga Collective, Her Pixel Story, Kaali Collective, The Packet

PANEL 5: Artistic Practice: Sites and Infrastructures
Several artists today dedicate their work to reimagining the notion of sites and infrastructures for their practice, testing the relationships between the environment and the body, history and memory. This panel looks at how artists are occupying, inhabiting and producing new sites of encounter for and through their art.
Moderator: Tulika Aasma
Speakers: Jasmine Nilani Joseph, Natasha Jozi, Maksud Ali Mondal, Mohit Shelare

PANEL 6: Text in the Expanded Field
With the advent of Web 2.0, reading, writing and circulation have taken on new forms, ushering an array of genres and modes of address. Writing and publishing in the arts that was once the domain of art history, museology and art criticism have expanded to encompass new discursive forms that include artistic research, lecture performances, curatorial propositions and speculative criticism. This panel brings together editors and writers who discuss their practices and the role they see for writing in a hyper-textual milieu. 
Moderator: Pramodha Weerasekera
Speakers: Najrin Islam, Senjuti Mukherjee/Mallika Visvanathan, Bazik Thlana, Arushi Vats

Partnership and Support

About India Art Fair
India Art Fair is the leading platform to discover Modern and Contemporary art from South Asia, offering a unique access point to the region’s thriving cultural scene.
Taking place annually in India’s capital, New Delhi, the fair reflects the city’s fast-developing local arts scene, while offering curated insights into the cultural landscapes of neighbouring countries. The fair’s programme – which draws together galleries and artists, private foundations and arts charities, artists’ collectives, national institutions, cultural events and festivals – enables international audiences to engage in innovative ways with the cultural history and development of the region.
The fair is committed to supporting arts education and professional development opportunities, recognising the crucial need to support the development of the local arts scene, and provide dedicated exhibition space to emerging galleries and arts organisations. The fair aims to run an extensive programme of events, including education initiatives, artist commissions and pop-up programmes, aiming to increase audiences for the arts within India. India Art Fair is owned by Angus Montgomery Arts, a division of Angus Montgomery Ltd.

About Shiv Nadar University
Shiv Nadar University is a student-centric, multidisciplinary, and research-focused University offering a wide range of academic programs at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels. The University was set up in 2011 by the Shiv Nadar Foundation, a philanthropic foundation established by Mr. Shiv Nadar, founder of HCL. The University is in the quest to become a globally acclaimed center for learning and innovation in the fields of Engineering, Natural Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences, and Management. The core of the University consists of a select, world-class faculty with doctoral and postdoctoral experiences from some of the best institutions in India and the world.
Shiv Nadar University, Delhi NCR has been declared an ‘Institution of Eminence’ by the Government. In the NIRF (Government’s National Institutional Ranking Framework), the University has been the youngest institution in the ‘top 100’ Overall list for the last 5 years. In NIRF-2021, it ranked 56 in the ‘University’ category. The University has been accredited with Grade ‘A’ by NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council), valid for a period of five years from 26 November 2019. It is also among a select group of institutions in the country which were awarded the prestigious Atal Incubation Center grant by the NITI Aayog, Government of India, in the very first round in 2017.
In keeping with the University’s emphasis on interdisciplinary research and situated experiential learning, the Department of Art and Performing Arts attempts to nurture rigorous and thoughtful praxis in these disciplines and their interfaces with questions of society and culture, history, politics, identity, philosophy, and technology. A vibrant visiting faculty and artist-in-residence programme encourages the development of creative alliances between practitioners, organizations and institutions both nationally and transnationally.

Speaker Biography

Moonis Ahmad
Samira Bose
Nihaal Faizal
Aziz Hazara
Najrin Islam
Jasmine Nilani Joseph
Natasha Jozi
Natasha Malik
Annalisa Mansukhani
Maksud Ali Mondal
Senjuti Mukherjee
Kaushal Sapre
Protick Sarker
Mohit Shelare
Bazik Thlana
Aasma Tulika
Arushi Vats
Omer Wasim
Pramodha Weerasekera
Sultana Zana
Anga Art Collective
Her Pixel Story
Kaali Collective
Offset Projects
Reliable Copy
Restricted Fixations
The Packet