The Kochi Biennale Foundation, in association with the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) and the Foundation for Indian Art and Education (FIAE) has developed the Students’ Biennale – an exhibitory platform which runs parallel to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. A part of the Foundation’s educational initiatives, the Students’ Biennale reaches out to art colleges across South Asia, to encourage young artists to reflect on their practice and exhibit on an international stage. The initiative is thus invested in using the potential of a global biennale platform to energise art schools and art production.
STUDENTS’ BIENNALE 2018
Students’ Biennale this year involves a multilateral approach, featuring an exhibition, an expanded education forum, and field-based research on the condition of art education as it stands. A full list of participating student-artists is available here.
The Exhibition Platform is led by a team of six curators and is driven through an open call for applications from art students to activate ideas around ‘Making as Thinking’. Kochi Biennale Foundation will provide production support for selected projects and artworks by Indian students. It will also expand its scope to include the participation of students from other SAARC countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
The Expanded Education Programme is the other key initiative of Students’ Biennale. Facilitated by Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA), it is envisioned as a series of engagements with students and teachers to identify existing frameworks of learning across art colleges in India and to imagine new directions in pedagogical practices within and around these institutions.
The Expanded Education Programme brings together experienced artist-educators who will develop and offer a series of week-long workshops at select arts colleges across the country exploring the varied climates under which art production and pedagogy is being undertaken.
With a focus on art history, intermedia, technology, critical theory, public art, architecture and the city, and curation, these workshops emerge from the expertise of the educator team who have spent many years developing their teaching strategies and will engage the students in process-intensive, practice-based learning.
The workshops will respond to local contexts and forms of knowledge that is accumulated into the fabric of different art colleges, acknowledge and attempt to engage with the larger intellectual community that exists around art colleges, and tackle challenges like limited resources, institutional norms and geography that greatly determine the functioning of these spaces.
Working alongside the educators will be a team of researchers who will support the process by documenting and compiling reports on these workshop modules. These findings will make their way into the publication so as to leave behind a collated and reflective summary of the process undertaken, some of which might offer possible directions art education can take in the Indian context in the 21st century.
We will also work towards an art education conference towards the end of the Biennale to continue these vital discussions on the future of art education with a distinguished group of pedagogues and artists.
Sanchayan Ghosh received his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1997 from Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, and currently works as an Associate Professor, Department of Painting, Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan.
Ghosh has worked extensively with site-specific art and contemporary theatre, exhibiting widely over the last 15 years. His practise also includes community-based workshops and performances. His participatory performance Circle Walk was part of a programme in Documenta 14 (2017). He has also shown in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2012), Frieze Art Fair, London (2010), and Nature Morte, Delhi (2014), to name a few.
KRISHNAPRIYA C P
Krishnapriya C P is a practicing visual artist based in Chennai. She completed her Masters from the Govt. College of Fine Arts, Chennai. Her work is multidisciplinary in nature; she uses paintings, drawings, collage, found objects and sculptural installations to engage with her concerns. The works primarily deal with the self and its relationship with its environment. History and local political discourses are also woven into the narratives she engages with.
She is interested in understanding the process of art pedagogy. Her other interests are contemporary art practices, theatre, postcolonial and environmental studies. She has been part of numerous art exhibitions and art camps. She is also part of art collectives and groups based in Chennai. She was awarded Tata Trusts Students’ Biennale International Award for Curation, 2016-17. She was a resident artist at University of Pennsylvania, 2017, sponsored by the South Asia Centre, UPenn.
Shukla Sawant is a visual artist and Professor of Visual Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi where she has taught since 2001. She is also currently visiting faculty at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai. Prior to joining JNU, Shukla Sawant taught for twelve years at the Department of Fine Arts and Art Education Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi. After graduating in painting from the College of Art, New Delhi she specialized in printmaking at the École Nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and later went to the Slade School of Art and Center for Theoretical Studies, London on a Commonwealth grant. Her research interests include Modern and Contemporary Art, Art in Colonial India, Photography, Printmaking and New Media.
K P REJI
K P Reji was born in 1972, Kerala. Reji received his Masters in Fine Arts – Painting from MSU, Baroda in 2000. He continues to work in the medium, and has exhibited widely including a solo show at Nature Morte, Delhi in 2009, and Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013. He also exhibited in the first Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2012.
M P NISHAD
M P Nishad is an artist who lives and works in Kerala. He received his MFA in sculpture from MSU, Baroda in 2003. He works largely with painting and paper.
In 2010, he won the Kerala Lalit Kala Akademi Award. His last solo show Reckoning Resonances, was at NCPA, Mumbai, in 2007. A year before, he exhibited at Gallery SKE in Bangalore.
B V SURESH
In 2007 he co-initiated Periferry, an alternative artist-led space situated on the M. V. Chandardinga, a ferry docked on the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati.
He also founded the Media Lab as an interdisciplinary centre within Department of Design for experiments with digital forms of design and learning. The main focus is on film, video, audio, new media, digital culture and technology. The outcome of projects is often not defined before they are started.They allow for tinkering, sites of non-formal learning practices, where learning by doing is stimulated. The purpose is to promote the creative use of new technologies by providing a collaborative environment for research and experimentation at the intersection of art, technology and culture.
As MmaTseleng, he plays music to expand his research into the social, political and economic significance of South African music, with Kwaito at the centre of his work. He has presented sonic lectures at events such as the Under the Mango Tree gathering of documenta 14 (2017), Kassel, The World Show on Kaya FM (2017), Johannesburg, Year After Zero conference (2013), Berlin, the Someone who knows something, and Someone who know something else: Education and Equality symposium of the 9th Bienal do Mercosul (2013), Porto Alegre and more. His ongoing project, Thath’i Cover Okestra, co-curated with MaloseMalahlela, is an experiment in ‘writing’ (South) African music histories and rerouting their family trees, most recently presented at the 10th Berlin Bienalle of Contemporary Art.
Rangoato is committed to ‘art/s education’ with a social justice agenda. Publishing reflective case studies of decolonial education is important, evident in the publication of two Keleketla! Library books titled 56 Years to the Treason Trial: Intergenerational Dialogue as a tool for Learning (2012) and the revision, 56 Years to the Treason Trial: Intergenerational Dialogue as a tool for Learning (2014). Rangoato was invited as a guest author with MaloseMalahlela for the 2014 book Creating Spaces: Non-formal Art/s Education and Vocational Training for Artists in Africa Between Cultural Policies and Cultural Funding by Nicola Laure Al-Samarai. He contributed a reflective, multi-authored case study of Keleketla! Library in the Brazil-based journal, Mesa (No3: Publicness in Art, 2015). Most recent publication is a contributions to aneducation (2018), a publication emerging out of the education program of documenta 14 and Meditations on Thath’i Cover Okestra and Kwaito (2018), a compendium of texts forming part of a a vinyl release of Thath’i Cover Okestra Vol. 5. Rangoato is an active member of ARAC (Another Roadmap Africa Cluster).
KARTHIK K G
Karthik KG is an artist and researcher, whose practice is driven by his deep interest in abstractions and questions of technology.
He completed his M.Res. in Curatorial/Knowledge from Goldsmiths, University of London as a FICA Inlaks Goldsmiths Scholar [2015-16] and holds M.A. in Visual Arts from the Ambedkar University, New Delhi  and B.E. in Electrical and Electronics from KLN College of Engineering, Anna University, Madurai . He worked as System Analyst and Team Coordinator at Tata Consultancy Services, Chennai [2005-2011]. Participation include collaborative proposal exhibited as part of INSERT2014, IGNCA, New Delhi , Group show Identity Control, at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi , Pepper House Residency Show, Kochi Muziris Biennale . Karthik has co-curated, with three other artists (Aruna, Aryan, Shivangi) as juggleheads exhibitions like stutter in your eloquence, at BC Gallery, Mattenchery, Kochi  and stutter in your eloquence (2), at Ambedkar University, Delhi . He has also participated in live Sound acts on a few occasions like Disquiet, at Bakheda, New Delhi . He currently teaches digital art at Ambedkar University, Delhi.
Bhooma Padmanabhan is a visual arts professional with experience in curation, programming, research, and art education. As a curator she has put together several exhibitions featuring exciting emerging artists in India, and most recently curated an exhibition on Indian photography in collaboration with Nazar Foundation. Outreach and programming have been key areas of functioning while working at The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) in the last decade. Bhooma’s interest lies in working closely with artists to develop projects, through the sharing of resources and knowledge, that thread the line between art making, public engagement and education. Bhooma is currently located in Chennai, India.
Vidya Shivadas is a curator and director of the not-for-profit Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA). Vidya has curated a number of exhibitions at the Vadehra Art Gallery since 2002 apart from exhibitions at museums like Devi Art Foundation (2009), Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (2013), Edinburgh Art Festival (2014) and Serendipity Arts Festival (2017). Most recently in 2018 she was invited by Kunstsammlung NRW and Goethe Institut in Dusseldorf to participate in a residency programme for international curators at the museum.
Shivadas has been Adjunct Faculty at School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University Delhi since 2013 and visiting faculty for the Post Graduate Diploma in Modern & Contemporary Indian Art & Curatorial Studies at Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (2012 -2017). For both 2014 and 2016 editions of Students’ Biennale, she worked in the capacity of Curatorial Consultant, mentoring the curatorial teams.