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Connecting with Contemporary Art

Who am I?
I came to Khoj from the outside my name is Lleah Smith and here in India I am a foreigner, an artist and an educator. Over the past four years I’ve spent months at a time in India researching, being inspired and absorbing the differences between contemporary art production and engagement in India and Australia. There are evidently vast differences between the type of work being produced, the motives behind what is produced and the spaces open and available to artists to simply experiment within these two countries; but what is also important to comment on is the spaces open and available to audiences to engage with something new in a new way within these two countries. This is what interests me.

Art at its core is about an exchange, an exchange between the artwork and audience, artist and artwork, the artist and the audience and the audience with each other. Contemporary art is defined by the experience of being with and sharing in the experience of exchange and it is the role of the educator to facilitate this experience.

But what is contemporary art?
Contemporary art is defined by an art that is produced and responding to the here and the now; it is an art which aims to present a new way of seeing, experiencing and engaging with the world around us. Contemporary art is concerned with pushing media and materiality to new heights thus pushing our understanding of where we view art and where it is installed. Accessibility and exposure are two key terms influencing the way we learn about and engage with art. As the world becomes smaller and smaller there is a rise in the global artist and the global citizen. These artists have the ability to reach a vast diversified audience and these citizens have the ability to view art from all four corners of the globe. As the changing nature of where and how art is viewed shifts, the role of art and the audience similarly moves with this change in tide.

So what now?
Over the next 6 months I will be focusing on opening up and developing this space of exchange. With each changing exhibition, residency, lecture or performance I will develop a range of workshops and community outreach programs which aim to unpack the ideas being cultivated through the curatorial and thematic premise. These workshops endeavour to engage and provoke the youth of Delhi and wider India to ask questions, experiment and push their personal understandings of what art can be. Contemporary art is a visceral experience the audience is no longer an innocent bystander but an active participant in the work. Therefore, learning and engagement commences the moment one views the work and willingly or unwillingly is pulled into the conversation. I believe this type of engagement in critical amongst Indian youth interested in contemporary art production as it facilitates alternative learning methodologies and thought processes.

Get involved.
If you are interested in connecting with contemporary art through diversified approaches to learning and engagement contact me at khojfellows@khojworkshop.org to discuss potential opportunities.