Blaise Joseph, Program Director, Art By Children, Kochi Biennale Foundation, Kannur District, Kerala, India
Blaise Joseph is an art educator from Kerela. He has a BFA in sculpture from MSU Baroda, and an MA in philosophy from Medras University. He has been involved in community based art projects as an art consultant and facilitator to several research based funding organisations. Since 2018, Blaise has been program manager of the Art By Children Program of Kochi Biennale Foundation where he designs and coordinates its art room projects. As a Jesuit scholastic and a student of Art he used to engage with an indigenous community in Bihar, the Muzahars, who were one of the most oppressed, illiterate and landless labourers in the region. This led him to his real calling, to understand creativity and learning by taking up art based engagements with children as well as adults of the less fortunate, marginalised communities in society.
Gayatri Nair – Founding Trustee & Heads CPB Prism, Chennai, India
Gayatri is a trained engineer, a photographer, an arts manager, and an educator. She had over 7 years of international experience with a leading bank in network infrastructure and business management before she built a 10-year career in the arts. She is currently the founding Trustee of the Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation as well as heads CPB Prism – the children’s education wing of the Foundation. She was awarded the ARThink South Asia Fellowship in 2019 which enabled her to work in Germany at the Biennale für Aktuelle fotografie. Her passion for working with children and education led her to build and grow CPB Prism where she works directly with administrators, teachers, and students to bring visual art learning into curriculums. CPB Prism has spent over 800 hours teaching photography to over 1000+ students since its launch two years ago. Students are taught the basics of digital photography and editing using phones which are more accessible than ever before. The resulting works made by a very diverse student body have been exhibited in the Government Museum, on the Chennai beach, a mall, and other urban spaces. The education program continues to grow and evolve with the Chennai Photo Biennale.
Monal Jayaram, Co-founder & Director at Piramal Foundation for Education Leadership, Mumbai, India
Monal Jayaram is the Co-founder & Director at the Piramal Foundation For Education Leadership, a leading institute in India that specializes in researching and providing leadership development programs for nation building. She leads a team of professionals who train, research, and develop learning materials for both the three-year Principal Leadership Development Program that offers leadership development to principals in public Indian schools to turn around failing schools and improve student outcomes, as well as the two-year full-time Gandhi Fellowship program that trains young people in leading social change, through which over five hundred fellows from India’s best colleges have gone on to nation-building roles. Previously she trained and taught at Pratham Gujarat and at universities in India. She has also published over two hundred articles in a daily newspaper in India. Ms. Jayaram is trained as an art historian and has been practicing in the field of education for twenty years.
Sandhya Gopinath, AISC High School Visual, Arts Teacher, IADEA
Conference Curator, Chennai, India
Sandhya Gopinath is passionate about teaching teenagers and young adults. High School Visual Arts Educator at an International School, Chennai, she has 12 years of teaching experience in international schools and other art institutions and has, IB, AP and IGCSE accreditations. Sandhya has a Master’s degree from Lasalle College of Art and Design, Singapore and has been the Visual Arts teacher at the American International School Chennai. She has held solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions in In India and abroad. Sandhya represented India at the Salon Des Beaux-Arts Lyon (France) 2007 and 2011.
Kirti Sood, Art Historian, Independent Art Curator
Kriti Sood is an Art Educator based out of New Delhi / Simla. She is the Founder and Director of LAND – (Learning through Arts, Narrative and Discourse) a visual arts education and curation consultancy. She has worked as a chief curator and art advisor for WIPRO, India. She presently is working as a visual arts expert for NalandaWay foundation, an Art education expert for Devi Art Foundation, India Art Fair and Sankriti Kala Kendra – New Delhi. She has furthermore mentored exhibitions and education programs at various universities, such as Ashoka University, St Stephens College at Delhi University, Shri Aurobindo Centre of Arts and Commerce and Jindal Global Law School.
Recently she designed the visual arts curriculum for the School of Specialised Excellence – Performance and Visual Arts (SOSE-PVA) for the Department of Education, New Delhi with Nalandaway foundation, along with art education programs for numerous schools in New Delhi and Kashmir, teacher training projects for special educators working with students with intellectual disabilities and “Art for well-being” teacher training programs for Tech Mahindra Foundation. She has curated programs for Singapore Arts for good foundation, CSMVS – Mumbai, MAP – Bangalore, Filmit project for schools in Kerala that were presented by INTACH India and Helen Hamlyn Foundation London that were presented at Kochi – Muziris Biennale. Along with this has created art based interventions for various care homes around Delhi. She is on the committee for Sovereign Asia Art Prize, Hong Kong as a nominator.
Asim Waqif, Sculptor/Architect, New Delhi, India
Asim Waqif studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. After initially working as an art director for film and television, he later started making independent video and documentaries before moving into a dedicated art practice. His recent projects have attempted to crossover between architecture, art and design, with a strong contextual reference to contemporary urban planning (or the lack thereof) and the politics of occupying, intervening in, and using public spaces. Some of his projects have developed within abandoned and derelict buildings in the city that act like hidden activity spaces for the marginalized.
Concerns of ecology and anthropology often weave through his work and he has done extensive research on vernacular systems of ecological management, especially with respect to water, waste and architecture. His artworks often employ manual processes that are deliberately painstaking and laborious while the products themselves are often temporary and sometimes even designed to decay.
Devi Seetharam, Painter, Trivandrum, India
Devi Seetharam is an artist from Kerala, currently practicing in Bangalore, India. She completed her BFA – Painting from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore 2011.
Primarily a painter, she currently works with acrylic on canvas, using reductive techniques to create grain, texture and form. Thematically Devi explores the cultural psyche of the spaces she occupies. Devi was shortlisted for the Incinerator and Darebin art prize and featured by KINGS gallery (Melbourne). She also participated in a three person show at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke (Mumbai) in 2020 and Lokame Tharavadu (Alappuzha) in 2021 curated by Bose Krishnamachari.
Rishi Kochhar, Photographer, Writer, Chandigarh, India
Rishi Kochhar is a photographer, and writer, currently residing in Chandigarh, India. An architect by training, he holds a Master of Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. His practice is concerned with issues of identity and memory, and how these two interact—and are inextricably linked—with geography. In his work, he focuses on long-term personal projects, looking both within and without, while also pursuing more traditional social-documentary themes. Rishi’s work was recently showcased as part of Angkor Photo Festival’s ‘Alumni Curates’ project. He also received the jury commendation at the Toto-Tasveer Awards in 2019. His writing has been published in The Caravan, Critical Collective and PIX Quarterly. Rishi also exhibited at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi in 2014, as part of the student show, Prarambh.
Palani Kumar, Photographer, Cinematographer, Madurai, India
Hailing from the village of Jawaharlalpuram in Madurai district, M Palani Kumar decided to pursue engineering as per the wish of his mother, a fish-seller. He graduated in B.E., E&I under the sports category. In 2013, while he was still pursuing engineering, he applied for a loan and purchased his first camera.
He worked as a cinematographer for the critically acclaimed documentary – a searing narrative on the lives of manual scavengers in Tamil Nadu. In a couple of years, Palani opened his first photograph exhibition in the city, featuring photographs clicked by the children of manual scavengers, who were trained through Palani’s workshops.
As a fellow of PARI, Palani is currently documenting the working class women. Palani is associated with Pep Collective – a forum of socially responsible photographers in Tamil Nadu.
He was recognised as Top Ten Humans 2019 by Anandha Vikatan for his attempt to sensitise and visibilise the work of manual scavengers to an otherwise de-sensitised world. In March 2020, he received the Best Story of the Year – 2020 award from Public Relations Council of India.
He hopes to continue using his art form to throw light on the marginalised communities.
Dipanwita Saha, Photographer, Kolkata, India
Dipanwita Saha is an independent photographer based in Kolkata, India. Her interest in photography stems from her father. She is belonging from a refugee family, since from her childhood she was grown up with stories of brutality, hatred , friendship and culture. She always wants to narrate those stories to the world and choose photography as a medium. Before starting photography as an art practice She completed her graduation in Engineering. Her work has been published in many online magazines and exhibited in Indian Photo Festival and Khoj Gallery, and also featured in Angkor photo festival. Using personal and subjective modalities in her documentary practice, Dipanwita explores the complexities of societal frameworks and the dynamics of political institutions in contemporary India. Her primary areas of interest are history, cultural narratives and socio-political changes. In recent years, She has been working for an oral archive of the pre-independence era of India and how it changes the culture of a city. As part of her image-making practice, Dipanwita deploys the personal voices, metaphorical exploration,and abstraction to unravel narratives of people, places, and their histories.
M.Thamshangpha, Multidisciplinary Artist, Manipur, India
Thamshangpha maku is a multidisciplinary artist who graduated with a master in visual arts from MSU Baroda in 2023.
The question that drives his practice is – “How can we accept people for who they are?” Conceptually maku’s practice involves the idea of belonging, identity and reclaiming.
He has participated in various group shows across India : Art 105, Chandigarh, 2022, Anant Art Gallery, Noida, 2022, MASH India in partnership with Khoj India, Delhi, 2022, and Priyasri Art Gallery, Mumbai 2022, YCW Mumbai 2023,He was also a fellow at Immerse 2.0, Somaiya Vidyavihar University, power by Carpe Arte, Young Art Support, Mumbai, 2023, awardees for FICA emerging artists award 2022, He is currently taking part in an artist’s residency under Natraj Sharma.