Sticking to tradition, Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) has appointed Indian artist Anita Dube as curator for the 2018 edition. It was announced on March 29, during this year’s closing ceremony, that Dube would be the fourth artist to curate the event. Following panel deliberations among artist, curators, writers and Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) trustees, it was decided that Dube would be ideal for the role made vacant by Sudarshan Shetty, who successfully attracted over 600,000 visitors to this iteration of India’s sole biennale. Riyas Komu, co-founder of the KBF, said, “[Dube’s] selection not only reinforces our commitment to having artists at the helm, but also our mission to address contemporary social-political-cultural concerns. Anita is a strong proponent of making art accessible to the public through effective political and social engagement. This is precisely what the Biennale tries to do.”
Dube was born in Lucknow, India, in 1958. She originally trained as an art critic and historian, but ventured into art creation in the 1980s when she became engaged with a short-lived but influential political artist group, the Indian Radical Painters and Sculpture Association, that reacted to government policies and growing capitalist concerns in the arts. Through exploration of photography, video, performance and installation, her conceptual works navigate mythology, personal and collective memories, contemporary Indian society and regional history with an increased use of language and text.
KBF co-founder Bose Krishnamachari said, “Anita’s sensitivity towards materials, incorporating everyday objects derived from informal, craft and industrial sources and spaces, is profound . . . Her oeuvre features both knowledgeable consideration and skillful melding of the sensibilities and styles of abstractions with real, contemporary concerns.”
Dube is a co-founder and current board member of the New Delhi-based international artist association, Khoj. For over two decades, the initiative has hosted exhibitions, workshops and residencies for artists hailing from various corners of the world, bringing a global focus to South Asian Art. Her works are collected by major art institutions, including London’s Tate Modern, New Delhi’s Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Gurgaon’s Devi Art Foundation.
Dube’s works have been included in important surveys of Indian Art, including “Where Three Dreams Cross” at Whitechapel Gallery, London and Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2010), and “Paris-Delhi-Bombay” at Centre Pompidou in Paris (2011). She was also included in the landmark 2009 traveling exhibition “Indian Highway,” curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Gunnar B. Kvaran and Julia Peyton-Jones. Her works have also been presented at the Yokohama Triennale (2001), the collateral event “Icon: India Contemporary” at the 2005 Venice Biennale, Biennale Jogja XI (2011) and the first Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2012, among others.
Katherine Volk is assistant editor at ArtAsiaPacific.
To read more of ArtAsiaPacific’s articles, visit our Digital Library.