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India Foundation for the Arts
Quarterly Newsletter Edition 27
January-April 2014
Apply: Grants

bird_bullet The Arts Research and Documentation programme is now accepting proposals. The last date for receipt of draft proposals has been extended to May 15, 2014 and final proposals to June 15, 2014. Details.

bird_bullet The Arts Practice programme is now accepting proposals. Practitioners working across artistic disciplines seeking to challenge prevalent idioms and conventions through their practice are invited to apply. Details.

The projects you read about in this newsletter, would not have been possible without the support of individuals who love the arts—people like you. We want you to join the IFA family and learn about the arts as you support them. Become a Friend of IFA. As a Friend, you will be contributing directly to philanthropy in the arts and increasing the presence of the arts in public life. It starts at just Rs 3,500/- a year and your donation is tax-deductible. As a Friend of IFA, you will receive exclusive access to IFA events, the ArtConnect magazine, and our annual reports.

Buy Now!
IFA Publications
Beyond the Proscenium
Beyond the Proscenium: Reimagining the Space for Performance
Edited by Anmol Vellani
176 pp., Rs 300, US$ 20
Click here to know more.

Embroidering Futures:Repurposing the Kantha
Embroidering Futures:
Repurposing the Kantha

Edited by Ritu Sethi
192 pp., Rs 400, US$30
Click here to know more.
ArtConnect Issue 7, Volume 2
ArtConnect Issue 7, Volume 2
Edited by C K Meena
Click here to know more.
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IFA in your city
You wouldn’t want to miss IFA in your city. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive our updates. All events are public and free, unless otherwise stated.

The following events are scheduled for the next three months (event dates are subject to change):

bird_bullet BANGALORE
Professor A G Rao
May 15, 2014 | 7 PM
The IFA Office

We meet Professor A G Rao from the Industrial Design Center (IDC) in IIT Bombay
Professor A G Rao
The Project 560 Found Spaces Festival and Panel Discussion:
June 5-8, 2014 | Time and Venue to be announced
A panel discussion and a three-day festival showcasing all the projects supported under IFA's Project 560—A Found Spaces Initiative.
Professor A G Rao

The Project 560 App
IFA is delighted to launch its first android app ever! We would like to thank Faiz Anwar for graciously creating this app and donating it to us.
You can download the Project 560 app from Google Play Store to receive updates on all ‪#‎P560 related grantees and their projects along with directions to the venues of their performances across the city of Bangalore. Hit download today!

The last four months India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) made two important announcements. The first, was the launch of IFA's new Arts Practice programme, which was conceptualised as per the recommendations made by a panel of experts comprising of Sadanand Menon, Madhusree Dutta, Shubha Mudgal, and Vivan Sundaram. This panel reviewed our earlier New Performance and Extending Arts Practice programmes to make way for this new one.

The second, was the announcement of our found spaces initiative—Project 560. Of 23 proposals received, we shortlisted 16 for review by an external panel comprising of Sudhanva Deshpande, Krishna Devanandan, Vivek Shanbhag and Suresh Moona. The panel awarded grants to six artists.

We also made three new grants under the Extending Arts Practice programme, and supported one Museum Fellowship and one Archival Fellowship, in the last four months.

New Models on Common Ground INSERT2014
New Models on Common Ground exhibition at Mati Ghar, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi. Photo courtesy: Umang Bhattacharyya for INSERT2014

In other news, we organised the showcase of three grants in Bangalore, one in Kolkata, one in Delhi, three in Mumbai and one in Guwahati; three editions of MaathuKathe, our 'art addas' in office; and an Open House meeting. We also supported a symposium titled Locating Art Histories by the Asia Art Archive and the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi; and an exhibition, titled New Models on Common Ground, organised as part of the month-long INSERT2014 exhibition and symposium.

The next edition of ArtConnect is now out in print! This issue, broadly themed around the visual arts, features essays on the visual culture of early Urdu magazines, the conservation of fading 16th century murals using digital technology, the evolution of storytelling traditions in India, the rich artistic talent of children in Nagaland, among others. To buy your copy, write to

In this edition of Slant/Stance, we speak to our very own Sumana Chandrashekar, Programme Executive for the Arts Practice programme. Prior to her current role, she was the programme executive for the New Performance programme under which she oversaw the conception of IFA's Project 560 initiative. In this interview, she talks about IFA's motivations behind creating an initiative of this nature.

Finally, thank you for your overwhelming support towards increasing IFA's presence online. Your 'likes', 'tweets', and 'shares' have helped us expand the reach of our work. We hope you will continue to visit our pages on Facebook and Twitter and share your views with us. And, we hope you enjoy the contents of this newsletter.

Much love,
The IFA Team

Arts Research and Documentation (ARD)

The ARD programme sent out its Request for Proposals (RFP) in March.

If you're a researcher or an artist interested in: studying changing practices in the contemporary arts or exploring how traditions are reconstructed, do visit our website to find out how you can apply for a grant to realise your project idea.

Apart from English, you can read our RFP in Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam and Urdu.

Watch this video interview with Tanveer Ajsi, Programme Executive for ARD, in which he talks about the process through which an application gets selected, with examples from projects he helped develop last year.

Tanveer Ajsi, Programme Executive for Arts Research and Documentation
Tanveer Ajsi, Programme Executive for Arts Research and Documentation
talks about the programme and how to apply
Extending Arts Practice (EAP)

We made three grants under EAP, between January and March 2014; at the end of the last financial year.

Filmmaker Qaushik Mukherjee, better known as Q, is making a film on the Bengali writer Nabarun Bhattacharya. Nabarun has long been a voice of dissent against the establishment and Bengali 'Bhadralok' culture. Through his film Q seeks to understand Nabarun as a creator who challenged various frontiers of Bengali language and culture.

Visual artists Tushar Joshi and K Balamurugan were awarded a grant to explore the Dry and Wet Plate Collodion photographic process, to document the change in beliefs, lifestyles and occupations of village communities under the shadow of globalisation in the village of Sanakari in Tamil Nadu and Danya in Almora, Uttarakhand.

Filmmaker Rajula Shah, is working on a poetic cinematic exploration of the journey of Warkaris, the Vaishnavite pilgrims who undertake an annual journey to Pandharpur in Maharashtra. Rajula's project will culminate in a multimedia installation, consisting of an interactive web-based map of all her footage coupled with audio-video and textual material.

The EAP programme is now closed. All practicing artists, seeking a grant need to apply through the Arts Practice programme.

New Performance (NP)

We made six grants for Project 560—A Found Spaces Initiative under NP.

Project 560 is an artistic quest initiated by India Foundation for the Arts, to recode the city of Bangalore through performances in a bid to encourage artists to creatively engage with found spaces in Bangalore, reimagine them and bring them alive. Projects supported under this initiative are being staged through the months of April and May and will culminate in a festival between June 5-8, 2014. Click here to download the Project 560 app and stay up-to-date on all the performances in various locations across Bangalore.

The theatre group, Rangasiri, is creating a theatre performance around the Kempegowda tower located in Mekhri circle. The tower, constructed by Kempegowda II, the grandson of the city's founder Kempegowda, is closely associated with the history of Bangalore. Through interviews with historians and an investigation of historical records, Rangasiri will create a theatrical piece that will be performed in and around the tower.

Dimple Shah, a performance artist, is creating work in the Basavanagudi area. Domiciled in Bangalore for about 20 years, Dimple will engage the characteristic features of the neighbourhood – its history, its colours and its people – in an attempt to examine questions about her own roots and identity.

Mallika Prasad and Ram Ganesh Kamatham of the Actors Ensemble India Forum are creating a site-specific performance on an artificial climbing wall located within Phoenix Market City mall, Mahadevapura. As actors and avid mountaineers, Mallika and Ram Ganesh will develop the performance through a process of research into and experimentation with aerial movements, visual designs and climbing techniques.

Ten artists from the 080:30 Collective will create site-specific performances in various parts of the city around themes that explore the many hues of life lived in a city in transition. Each of the artists will work with five different spaces and their projects will be chosen through a process of discussion and evaluation within the collective.

Art Adda Project 560 Jeetin Rangher Katrina Rašić Bhuvanesh Kumar

Project 560 grantee Jeetin Rangher collaborated with performance artists
Bhuvanesh Kumar and Katarina Rašić to stage an intervention at a
dilapidated marriage hall on Bellary road.

Performance artist Jeetin Rangher is creating a site-specific performance at Sree Vinayaka Kalyan Mantapa, a building on Bellary Road that used to be a marriage hall until it was recently sliced into half during the road construction process. Over the next three months, Jeetin will facilitate visual arts and performance arts works on the site in collaboration with visual artists Bhuvanesh Kumar and Katarina Rašić.

Theatre artist Mounesh Badiger is creating a performance around the life and works of eminent Kannada writer Masti Venkatesha Iyengar. The performance will begin with a walk starting on the road in Gavipuram that is named after the writer, continue into Gandhi Bazaar and culminate at Bugle Rock Park, Basavangudi, which Masti frequented.

The NP programme is now closed. All practicing artists, seeking a grant need to apply through the Arts Practice programme.

Arts Practice (AP)

The NP and EAP programmes went through a review last year and based on the recommendations of the panel, consisting of Sadanand Menon, Madhusree Dutta, Shubha Mudgal, and Vivan Sundaram, the Arts Practice programme was shaped and launched in April 2014.

This programme supports critical practice in the arts, was launched. It encourages practitioners working across artistic disciplines to question existing notions through their practice. The programme seeks to establish a culture where arts practice is constantly being shaped and articulated through experimentation, critique and dialogue.

For further information on our eligibility criteria and how you can apply, please read our programme note. To know more, write to or

Arts Education (AE)

Over the last five years, the AE programme has used all its resources to build an engagement with government school teachers in Karnataka, titled Kali-Kalisu, offering them arts-based training to encourage them to think of the process of learning as a creative one.

As an extension of IFA's Kali-Kalisu project, the AE programme announced grants for artists in March 2014, to initiate arts projects in government schools in Karnataka and kindle collaborations between teachers and artists. The projects that have been awarded grants will be announced soon.

IFA has partnered with the Mumbai-based Art1st Foundation to bring to Bangalore an artist mentorship programme that enables secondary school students to engage with established artists in the city. Starting July 2014, students will get the chance to work with Suresh Jayaram, Ravikumar Kashi, Surekha, C F John, Biju Jose, George Mathen and Suresh Kumar G.


The Archival and Museum Fellowships underwent a review last year. A panel of experts comprising of Jeebesh Bagchi, Lawrence Liang and Janaki Nair, suggested that IFA treat the Fellowships strategically and adopt processes for building discourse. It was suggested that IFA build partnerships with archival and museum spaces before inviting curators and artists to work with them. The panel also recommended that IFA support workshops and seminars that could build an environment for discussion and debate among theorists and practitioners.

IFA awarded two Fellowships in the last four months.

Kush Bhadwar received an Archival Fellowship to research, collate and document materials from archives related to the practice of the revolutionary poet Gaddar, who has been an active advocate for a separate state of Telangana.

Latika Gupta received a Museum Fellowship to research the collection of the Munshi Aziz Bhat Museum of Central Asian And Kargil Trade Artifacts. Her research will culminate in an exhibition that will open in the Museum at the end of August/early September, 2014. The exhibition will re-present and contextualize the large collection of historical and ethnographic objects in the museum by constructing narratives around the objects, texts and legacies of the people who have traversed these regions.


On February 5, we organised a screening of Kamal Swaroop's film Rangbhoomi on Dadasaheb Phalke, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, at Jadavpur University, Calcutta. Swaroop is the recipient of three IFA grants for his project to conduct interdisciplinary workshops on the life and work of Dadasaheb Phalke in five cities. IFA's grants helped Swaroop reconstruct Phalke's biography and thus, in a small way, contributed to the making of Rangbhoomi. Kamal Swaroop, received the Best Non-feature Film Award (Swarna Kamal) for Rangbhoomi at the 61st National Film Awards.

Kamal Swaroop Rangbhoomi 61st National Award
Kamal Swaroop exults at receiveing his award from President Pranab Mukherjee

Movement artist Shilpika Bordoloi premiered her performance Majuli in Delhi and in Bangalore on February 21 and 25, respectively. Majuli is a physical theatre performance inspired by the beauty of a river island of the same name in Assam and the social, cultural and spiritual life of the people living there.

Invitation for Shilpika Bordoloi's three-city tour of the
physical theatre performance—Majuli

Our next grantee showcase, on March 5, was an exploration into Urdu's popular culture and featured presentations by two IFA grantees—Gautam Pemmaraju and Yousuf Saeed. Gautam's project explores the Hyderabad/Deccan comic-satire poetic tradition known as Dakhani Mizahiya Shairi, Dakhani vernacular history and traditions, and the decline of Urdu and the composite culture of the region. Yousuf's project seeks to understand the historical and socio-political relevance of printed images from popular Urdu literature produced in the first half of the 20th century, and the stories they reveal of Urdu's transformation from a language, reflecting the cultural plurality of North India, to one associated with Islam. These grants were also showcased at two separate venues in Mumbai on March 21 and 22.

Invitation for a showcase of two IFA grants to Gautam Pemmaraju
and Yousuf Saeed, respectively.

In Mumbai we also organised a showcase of a grant awarded to art historian and writer, Amrita Gupta Singh, on her project to create an online archive that documents the visual cultures of the Northeast, focusing on contemporary arts practice in Shillong, Guwahati and Silchar.

As some of you may know, IFA often supports seminars, symposiums, exhibitions and conferences, to encourage discourse building in the arts.

IFA supported the Asia Art Archive (AAA) to hold a two-day colloquium, Locating Art Histories: Dialogues on Language, Writing, and Research in India, at the School of Arts and Aesthetics Auditorium, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. This marked the launch of AAA's Bibliography of Modern and Contemporary Art-writing of India project, which has compiled an extensive and growing database of art writing in India from the late 19th century until 1990, across 13 languages. Support was also given to the Raqs Media Collective to invite speculations from artists, curators, scholars, architects, activists, critics, media practitioners and art enthusiasts for the re-imagination of spaces and cultural infrastructure in Delhi. Of the proposals received, 24 were selected to be exhibited at INSERT 2014, an international contemporary art exhibition organised by them, at Mati Ghar.

We also organised our ninth, tenth and eleventh Maathukathe at the IFA office. For the first time, IFA opened up its space to children. Vikram Sridhar, a theatre artist and storyteller, regaled an eager young audience with Indian folk tales using the age-old oral medium of narration. At the next MaathuKathe, Bangalore-based visual artist Anjana Kothamachu made a presentation on her artistic journey, mediums and processes to a packed audience. And finally in April, we screened two films on cyber-security in India that sought to answer questions surrounding the issue of privacy and surveillance in cyber space and how it affects Indian society. The filmmakers Laird Brown and Purba Sarkar were present to answer questions from the audience.

Slant / Stance
Ekta Mittal

Sumana Chandrashekar is the programme executive for IFA's Arts Practice programme. Prior to her current role, she was the programme executive for the New Performance programme under which she oversaw the conception of IFA's Project 560—A Found Spaces initiative. Having lived in the city for most of her life, Sumana describes herself as a quintessential Bangalore 'maga', making her the perfect person for the task of holding together the city-wide Project 560 initiative. She is a performing Carnatic vocalist studying under Vidushi Rupa Sridhar. Immensely passionate about the ghatam, she also trains under ghatam exponent Vidushi Sukanya Ramgopal and has performed at several venues both in India and abroad.

In this interview, Sumana talks about IFA's impulse behind orchestrating a 'found spaces' initiative in Bangalore and about what she hopes the project will eventually mean to the people in the city.

IFA: What is the difference between a Found Space and a proscenium space?

Sumana Chandrashekar: A proscenium space is a conventional theatre or auditorium that is designated for performance. It has its own codes of how a performance is created, presented and received. On the other hand, a found space is a space that is conventionally not meant for performances but something that the artist herself finds for creating a performance. In Kannada, we called it 'Kandukonda jaaga'. It could be any space - a roof top, a mall, a railway station, a dilapidated building - anything. So a performance in a found space involves a process of 'finding' the space on multiple levels – spacially, socially, historically; it is a process of giving new meanings to a space or reimagining and transforming it; it is an engagement that allows the space to enter the performance. And this act of 'finding' is not just externalised. It is an inner discovery as well. While the artist finds the space, it is also about how the artist finds herself within that space.

IFA: Why did IFA decide to start a Found Space initiative in Bangalore?

Sumana Chandrashekar: In 2008, IFA established the Theatre Infrastructure Cell (TIC) with support from the Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust. TIC's engagement with performance infrastructure not only encompassed creative use of existing performance infrastructure but also reimagining spaces for performance. As part of this, IFA had conceived of a Found Space Festival. We could not realise it then, nevertheless, we continued to nurture the idea. In 2013, we presented it to the Qualcomm Foundation. They welcomed the idea and supported it with a generous grant. That is how we have been able to do it now. And we wanted to do it in Bangalore first. For 20 years, Bangalore has been our home. IFA has drawn energy and inspiration from the vibrant culture of this city. So, for us, it is a way of reconnecting with the city that has helped us grow. Project 560 is our little tribute to the wonderful Namma Bengaluru.

Project 560 grantees, Jeetin and Katrina, perform at the Sree Vinayaka Kalyana Mantapa

IFA: Would it be right to say that most Found Space performances carry with them a socio-political message?

Sumana Chandrashekar: I believe that any performance – any artistic endeavour for that matter – is inherently political. In addition to this, when space also becomes a key player in a performance, then it becomes much more layered and therefore, complex. A space is always pregnant with socio-political meanings and any performance that deeply engages with it would naturally begin to embody them.

IFA: Aren't most Found Space initiatives organic in the way they start? Do you feel that by funding the process you lose out on some of this spirit?

Sumana Chandrashekar: You are right that most Found Space initiatives so far have emerged organically out of individual artists' passion for working in those spaces. Project 560 is perhaps the first such institutional initiative in the country. But I do not think institutionalising it takes away from the spirit of it. In fact, it is a way of seeding these ideas and encouraging many more artists to explore it. That only adds to the spirit. And as an institution we take a considerable risk in supporting projects of this nature.

Project 560 grantee, Dimple Shah, performs at the Basavanagudi Live Art Project

IFA: Is this something IFA intends to continue in future?

Sumana Chandrashekar: Absolutely! We already have artists in Bangalore preparing to apply for the next edition of Project 560. We have artists from other cities asking us why we have been partial to Bangalore and when will we do a Project 700 (Kolkata), 400 (Mumbai) and 110 (Delhi). That is hugely encouraging. But you see it also places a lot of responsibility on us. We need to mobilise resources for it. And we hope many more generous donors like Qualcomm come forward and support us. We are also considering other ways in which to keep this engagement with the city going albeit on a smaller scale, beyond the term of Project 560.

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