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Verve Trendsetters
July 16, 2015

Curator Akansha Rastogi Talks About Art

Text by Zaral Shah. Photograph by Anshika Varma

Akansha Rastogi, curator at the KNMA, creates complex networks between artists to foster an exchange of ideas

Beginnings
“My engagement with contemporary art began as a writer for art e-zines, while studying art history at the National Museum Institute in New Delhi. I’ve always worked with important collections of modern and contemporary Indian art. Curating has been an essential part of my research and practice, and my understanding of the same is an amalgamation of my archivist, artistic and collaborative approaches and methodologies. KNMA’s is the third museum collection I’m working with, and I am proud of the projects that I have initiated and co-curated such as Zones of Contact in 2013 and Archiving the Studio at Khoj International Artists’ Studio in 2011.”

Milestones
“I received the IFA (India Foundation for the Arts) Research Grant to study exhibition histories and practices of Indian modern and contemporary art in 2014-’15, and my main interest as a curator lies in creating complex networks between practitioners to allow exchange of ideas.”

On contemporary Indian art  
“It has changed tremendously in the last 10 years. We (her peer group) were young entrants during the boom period. The conversation now has shifted to another terrain and has intensified since then due to the emergence of formal and informal platforms led by artists, curators, collectives and academicians.”

On storytelling through art
“I try to engage collaboratively with artists and their practices, and find strategies to present them and our ideas in the best possible format. We’re living in a very interesting time, wherein along with the apocalypse and trauma, ideas of resurrection and recovery are being hurled all around us. Future ecologies are directly and more consequentially dependent on our actions today.”

On public art
“In Indian contemporary art, we’ve seen the rise of community projects, with institutions like FICA (The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art) and IFA supporting such initiatives. The emergence of private museums carries the potential of inculcating curiosity and awareness about contemporary art, changing the perception of the public about what it can offer as a discipline.”

Future forward
“I’m working towards a new exhibition at the KNMA and am writing my Exhibition Histories project.”

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