India biennale to celebrate art, architecture, gardens, women architects

India biennale to celebrate art, architecture, gardens, women architects

New Delhi, Nov 17 (PTI) The maiden India Art, Architecture and Design Biennale (IAADB) to be held from December 9-15 seeks to create a “domino effect” that enables the creation of a dedicated professional community in the field and reduce the 'gap' that exists between elite connoisseurs and mass audience, officials said on Friday.

The mega event will take place in the Red Fort complex and seven 'specially-curated' thematic pavilions will be housed in three British-era barracks located on the premises of the Mughal-era monument.

The inauguration and the VIP preview of the biennale, helmed by the Union Culture Ministry, will take place on December 8.

Union Minister of State for Culture Meenakshi Lekhi on Friday held a press conference on the upcoming mega-scale event and said a request has been sent to the Prime Minister's Office for its opening by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they said.

The Culture Ministry said an open call for submission was made in August-September, and 260 submissions were received, of which 150 entries have been selected and will be on display at the venue.

'As the prime minister says, 'Vikas bhi, Virasat bhi', so along with development, our cultural legacy is also being kept alive, as also through this endeavour,' Lekhi told reporters.

The minister said this will not only allow for generating a 'creative space' and celebrate the rich culture, art forms and architectural legacy of India, but also help in connecting the world further to India's rich cultural heritage.

India's cultural wealth has been very rich and vast, and it has sort of got neglected, so efforts are being made to make it shine again, she said.

Lekhi said the biennale is an innovative initiative to celebrate the rich tapestry of our country's artistic heritage, spanning ancient, modern, contemporary and tech-driven art, architecture and design.

She said while biennales have been held in India in the past by individuals or some groups, this one is on a scale that can only be achieved when it is owned by the government, adding, 'This will be institutionalised'.

Asked where the next India biennale will take place, she said, “No call has been taken on it, yet.” From ornate doors to ancient magnificent temples and heritage step wells to rich textile designs, the art and architectural legacy of India will come together at this biennale showpiece.

Each day of the week-long event has been planned around a uniquely conceptualised theme which will be complemented by 'exclusively curated exhibitions' for which 'seven distinguished curators have been onboarded,' a senior official had earlier said.

'Two exhibitions each will be held in two barracks (two storey-high) and the rest in another barrack. These old structures will add a layer of history and old-world allure to the exhibitions which will run even after the end of the biennale, till March 2024,' an official source told PTI in October.

The day-wise seven themes include -- 'Doors of India', 'Gardens of India', 'Baolis of India', 'Temples of India', 'Architectural Wonders of Independent India', 'Indigenous Design' and 'Women in Architecture and Design'.

The themes have been named -- 'Pravesh', 'Bagh-e-Bahar', 'Sampravah', 'Sthapaya', 'Vismaya', 'Deshaj' and 'Samatva'.

Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Mugdha Sinha said the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre For Design' housed in another barrack, besides the three barracks taken up for IAADB, will also be inaugurated on the opening of the biennale on December 8.

The three barracks are -- A1, A2 and B4 -- and are being refurbished for the mega event.

Sinha also gave a presentation on the event which offered a few glimpses of the high-ceiling barracks.

The Biennale seeks to create a 'domino effect' so that it 'enables the creation of a dedicated professional community' in the field, she told reporters.

Asked about the role of the biennale, Sinha said there is a 'gap' between the elite and masses when it comes to this field, and through this event, the endeavour is to reduce the 'gap' that exists between elite connoisseurs and mass audiences.

This biennale will also become an introduction to the 'cultural space' in Delhi at Red Fort as per the mandate of Prime Minister Modi, in pursuit of the MoU which was signed at the International Museum Expo held in May by the Ministry of Culture, the officials said.

Asked if any artworks or architectural installations will be kept permanently, Sinha said, 'There will be a lot of stuff that will be kept…. we will only get to know later after we see the entries.' A 'student biennale' will also be parallelly organised under the banner of the main biennale this year, giving youngsters a platform to showcase their talent, creativity, imagination and originality.

It will include a competition to design a 'house on the Moon’, a senior official said.

The IAADB-2023 will also offer chosen artists an opportunity to have their work showcased at this biennale, and a chance to participate in the prestigious Venice Biennale 2024, officials said.

The Venice Biennale takes place at locations, including the iconic Corderie at the centuries-old Arsenale in Italy.

Noted artists, architects, historians, art historians and journalists and experts from many foreign countries will take part in panel discussions and lectures among other events at the Red Fort event.

Other highlights of the event will include an art camp in collaboration with art schools, architecture and design schools and colleges, an 'Art Bazaar' and a merchandise corner, besides cultural programmes.

Besides Delhi, events are also planned in Mumbai and Bengaluru, officials said.

The Culture Ministry officials said it is also in touch with the Maharashtra government to set up an 'art district' in Kharghar, and a meeting will take place soon in this connection. PTI KND NB

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