At first such biennale in Delhi’s Red Fort, discover the many facets of India’s art, architecture and design
Italian writer and journalist Italo Calvino in his seminal novel Invisible Cities (1972) says, ‘You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders but in the answer it gives to your question.’
Some of these answers find their questions at the first-ever India Art, Architecture and Design Biennale (IAADB) organised at the Red Fort in Delhi. It’s here that one acknowledges ‘the invisible edges between reality and fiction, memory and design, and past and the present.’
Organised by the Ministry of Culture, IAADB is open to the public from December 9 to 15. The event will host panel discussions, workshops, talks by Indian and international architects and designers along with an art bazaar.
There are seven pavilions, curated by seven experts, spread across the complex which celebrates India’s multifaceted ode to architecture and design – Pravesh (on doors and gates); Bagh-e-Bahar (on gardens); Sampravah (on communities and spaces); Sthapatya (on temples and geometry); Vismaya (post-independence architecture); Deshaj (on design traditions); and Samatva (women architects).
Said Diana Kellog, of Diana Kellog Architects, in her keynote address, ‘Art is an effective tool for communication that cuts across cultural backgrounds. The Biennale is an incredible opportunity to effect change in society.’
Among her iconic buildings is Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls High School of Jaisalmer. Sharing her experience of working on the site that was inspired by an ancient stepwell, Kellog spoke of how she saw ‘beauty as an act of survival’.
Talking about Bagh-e-Baha, curator Anjchita Nair, co-founder, Culture, says, ‘The idea of a garden and its elements have been part of our creative expression for centuries through art, textiles, literature, music, and that’s what we are highlighting. We are showcasing about 48 gardens across the country, you get to spot your favourite one… Gardens hold different meanings for different people in different contexts. We also have installations made from scrap metal, including a field of poppies.’
As a salute to one of India’s pioneering women architects, in her centenary year, who collaborated closely with Le Corbusier in the planning of Chandigarh, Urmila Eulie Chowdhury is being remembered at IAADB’s Samatva pavilion.
Its lead curator Swati Janu, founder, Social Design Collaborative, invites onlookers to explore the ‘Studio’ where some of India’s well-known women architects’ workplaces have been recreated, ‘showing not just their work but also their process’.
‘The ‘Site’ puts together the materiality of architecture, of finished work, of working on the ground, and the essential role of construction workers and craftspeople in it. While architectural practice might span between the studio and the site, most of our built environment is shaped by people; architecture is not always about architects,’ says Janu.
Vikramjit S Rooprai, heritage activist and educator, who has curated Sampravah, with mentoring from Ratish Nanda, CEO, Aga Khan Trust for Culture, India, has created a model of the stepwell (baoli), besides showcasing its geometry and community involvement through photos and installations. Through famous examples such as Adalaj stepwell and Rani Ki Vav, the exhibition at A2 barracks in the Red Fort is a testimony to India’s rich tradition of water conservation.
While designer Anubhav Nath, curator for Deshaj, salutes the country’s indigenous crafts with a lifesize painting of folk art by nearly 20 tribal artists from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, in Sthapatya, well-known photographer Amit Pasricha presents temples as the core of society, repositories of culture, religion and lifestyle.
The IAADB, in partnership with the Council of Architecture and the National Association of Students of Architecture, India, has a collateral Student Biennale, Samunnati 2023, which will be held at the Lalit Kala Akademy. The exhibition also has seven research catalogues on themes, which present India’s finest projects and traditions, both pre-and post-independence.
(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a indianexpress.com feed.)
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