Shubigi Rao to curate Biennale 2020

Shubigi Rao, Singapore-based Indian-origin artist and writer, has been selected to curate the fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, an artists-driven biennale, slated to get under way on December 12, 2020. Ms. Rao is an archivist and a visual artist known for making layered installations.

The selection committee, which made the announcement in Venice on Thursday, decided to appoint Ms. Rao to curate the biennale in view of her “exceptional acumen and inventive sensibilities,” according to a press release issued here.

The Mumbai-born artist, whose work was on show in the fourth edition of the KMB (2018), is also a writer and her myriad interests include archaeology, neuroscience, libraries, archival systems, histories, literature, violence, acts of cultural genocide, anti-censorship, migratory patterns, ecology and natural history.

The announcement was made at Istituto Europeo di Design, Palazzo Franchetti in Venice—the Italian city that hosted the world’s first biennale (in 1895). The search committee comprised Amrita Jhaveri, Gayatri Sinha, Jitish Kallat, Sunita Choraria and Tasneem Mehta, besides Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) trustees Alex Kuruvilla, Bose Krishnamachari and V Sunil.

The press release quoted Ms. Rao as saying that she believed it was possible for the biennale to retain regional realities and histories through cementing existing affinities and establishing new commons.

“Biennales are sometimes floating cities that are unmoored from their locality/regionality. Kochi-Muziris Biennale is rooted in the intertwined histories and cultural multiplicities of Kochi, while providing a crucial platform for larger discourse of the critical, political, and social in artistic practices,” she was quoted in the release.

Mr. Krishnamachari, KBF president, described Ms. Rao as a “brilliant and original” artist.

Ms. Rao had participated in the 10th Taipei Biennial (2016), 3rd Pune Biennale (2017), the 2nd Singapore Biennale (2008), and the Singapore Writers Festival (2016, 2013). She was also selected for residency programmes in Singapore, Germany, and India.
Her notable exhibitions include The Wood for the Trees (2018), Written in the Margins (2017), The Retrospectacle of S. Raoul (2013), and Useful Fictions (2013).

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