Peripheries & Crossovers: art as social practice

Over the last fifteen years Khoj has been actively involved in art-based community projects in its neighborhood Khirki, an urban village in the heart of Delhi.Through effective community engagement, focused on creating inclusiveness and participation, Khoj has researched, questioned, addressed and developed strategies to creatively address problems of urban inequality and intolerance in small but palpable ways in Khirki. 

To deepen our inquiry further in art-based community projects, Khoj put out a call inviting proposals for Peripheries & Crossovers: art as social practice in peri-urban spaces across India to address cultural norms and narratives around gender, and urbanisation. This is a pilot project and the first year of a three-year long grant. Through these projects the aim is to demonstrate the value of art-based interventions and creative strategies for social change and to also understand if artists can find ways to embed artistic practices into civil society organisations to effectively reach out to the marginalised groups in peri-urban areas and urban villages in India.  

These projects will be carried out in collaboration with local communities and a network of stakeholders/partners, which will include civil society organisations and the project outcome will be realised within the community with the possibility of an afterlife. 

Khoj received close to 60 applications for this project. After a series of interviews we are pleased to announce the names of the selected artists and the areas they will be working in.


Peripheries & Crossovers: art as social practice have been supported by The Ford Foundation, New Delhi.

 Aryakrishnan R

Aryakrishnan R is an artist and curator based in Cochin and New Delhi. They completed their MA in Visual Arts from School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University, Delhi, 2014. Their ongoing project ‘Sweet Maria Monument’ is a monument for a transgender activist and performer who was murdered in 2012 in Kerala, India. The project was showcased in various spaces including Clark House Mumbai (2017) and Kochi Muziris Biennale (2018). The project under the Khoj Grant, Sweet Maria Monument: Queer Futures is a remaking of the monument with LGBTQIA communities in Kerala exploring what queer futures look like. 



Princess Pea 

Princess Pea was born in 1980, Ferozpur, India. Her practice has evolved with its relationship to diverse women through diverse age groups over the past decade looking at participants through the lens of gender and urbanization. Her projects have mostly included housewives, small entrepreneurs, differently-abled women along with women who have suffered abuse, suffer from body image related violence and mental health amongst themes of visibility and systemic erasure. From what began as a means of world-building from the perspective of Princess Pea in her early years has now moved towards a more collaborative, time-based and intervention led practice within the three communities she currently works with. Her practice has moved into thinking about the politics and aesthetics of care, women led narratives of self and economies of domestic life amongst women and children. Over the past year and a half, Princess Pea has continued to work with women in certain communities in Goa through a range of short term programmes. Through the grant she hopes to develop a series of interventions in various parts of Goa through workshops, football sessions, health classes and conversations with parents and young girls.                                    

Sumedha Garg & Nitin Bathla 







Sumedha Garg and Nitin Bathla are art and design practitioners working at the intersection of art, society, narrative, ecology and urbanisation. Sumedha lives between India and South Africa exploring art based education, social narratives and sacred ecology. While Nitin splits his time between Delhi and Zurich researching labour migration, reparative ecology, and cooperatives. Their project ‘Apna Khet at Kapashera’ located in the green belt between Delhi and Gurgaon, attempts to decommodify a farmland and use it as a cooperative for the community of labour migrant workers. At the heart of the Khet is mitti ghar – a healing space for the community where children, women, migrants, and artists can meet, share and create interrelationships around art and nature.


Sumona Chakravarty & Nilanjan Das

Sumona and Nilanjan have been engaging with diverse communities around the Chitpur neighbourhood of Kolkata since 2014, as a part of the artists collective Hamdasti. They started by working with students and craft people, slowly building an ecosystem of artists, residents, community organizations, and government officials to develop collaborative art projects and create more engaged community spaces.

With greater attention now on this heritage neighbourhood and a push for urban development, and conservation, Nilanjan and Sumona want to challenge prevalent narratives of Chitpur. They will start by building new collaborations at the margins of the networks they have built so far, creating engagement around peripheral, gendered spaces, such as the ghats, rocks, water pumps around Chitpur.

Through a series of collaborative actions with people who occupy these spaces, as well as those who are excluded from these spaces, they will attempt to unpack the memories, patterns of movement, codes, and spatial typologies of these spaces. Through these incremental experiments they will work towards developing a shared, co-owned narrative of Chitpur that includes, or possibly even wilfully omits these spaces, their histories and future imaginations.

This project is in collaboration with Srota Dutta, Paramita Saha and Manas Acharya





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