Peripheries & Crossovers: art as social practice – 2019/20

In 2019, Khoj supported four, year-long projects in Kochi, Kapashera, Goa and Kolkata as part of Peripheries & Crossovers: art as social practice. These hyper-local projects aimed to address cultural norms and narratives around gender and racial and ethnic others. They also attempted to create participatory frameworks for art-making and worked towards building a shared vocabulary around ‘social change’.

For an art practice that relies heavily on physical presence for engagement, travel and process, COVID-19 has been devastating. The crisis created several roadblocks in the initial months. However, despite the challenges the artists have worked persistently to find ways to work around the new normal.

We are finally very excited to announce that we have kickstarted 5 new projects across India focusing on violence against women, gender stereotyping and effects of urbanisation on gender-based inequalities.

Through these distinct and diverse creative approaches, Khoj will continue to map the ecosystem that contributes to the landscape of socially engaged art practice in South Asia, and also continue to believe in the agency and responsibility of art and artists to affect social change.

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