Singapore-based, Indian-origin artist Shubigi Rao has been named the curator of the fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, beginning on December 12, 2020. The appointment is in keeping with the Biennale’s tradition of being an exhibition helmed by an artist. The selection committee unanimously decided to appoint Rao for her exceptional acumens and inventive sensibilities to curate the fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
Artist and writer Shubigi Rao is known for her complex and layered installations, and myriad interests, including archaeology, neuroscience, libraries, archival systems, histories and lies, literature, violence, ecology, and natural history.
The announcement was made at Istituto Europeo di Design, Palazzo Franchetti in Venice on May 9. It followed lengthy deliberations by a diverse and eminent search committee comprising Amrita Jhaveri, Gayatri Sinha, Jitish Kallat, Sunita Choraria, Tasneem Mehta, and Kochi Biennale Foundation trustees, Alex Kuruvilla, Bose Krishnamachari, and V Sunil.
Responding to her appointment, Rao said, “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 a larger discourse of the critical, political, and social in artistic practices. To shift the lens through which we read the spectacle of the exhibition, we must reposition discourse and practice by acknowledging intersecting contexts. I believe it is possible for the Biennale to retain regional realities and histories through cementing existing affinities and establishing new commons.”
Describing Rao as a “brilliant and original artist”, KMB co-founder Bose Krishnamachari said, “Responding to the Foundation’s interest in selecting a young curator with varied interests, the section committee chose Rao for her exceptional talents.” V. Sunil who is the Foundation’s Secretary, said, “Rao is a multi-faceted artist with interests in a range of subjects. We look forward to another exciting edition of the Biennale under her curatorship”.
Rao’s notable exhibitions include The Wood for the Trees (2018), Written in the Margins (2017) The Retrospectacle of S. Raoul (2013), and Useful Fictions (2013). Group shows include About Books at AlbumArte, Rome (2018), the Signature Art Prize finalist exhibition at National Museum Singapore, (2018), Ghost on the Wire 21 (2016), Dear Painter (2015), Urban:ness (2015), Modern Love (2014), Still Building (2012), Singapore Survey: Beyond LKY (2010), Found and Lost (2009), Singapore Art Show at the Singapore Art Museum (2007), Second Dance Song (2006), Appetites for Litter (2006), and New Contemporaries (2005).
She was also included in the 10th Taipei Biennial (2016), and the 2nd Singapore Biennale (2008)as well as the fourth Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018).