DEMOCRACY - THE ENDANGERED BIRD is an ambulating public programme formulated by Hillside Projects (SE) in collaboration with Indian artists and curators Saviya Lopes, Yogesh Barve, Amol K Patil and Arijit Bhattacharyya and guest researcher Amila Puzić. The programme is presented in four acts at Art House cinema Zita, IASPIS and Index - The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation throughout the month of September 2023. Stay tuned for more info on the events!
DEMOCRACY - THE ENDANGERED BIRD was initiated at the beginning of 2020 in Mumbai, India, whilst on a quest looking at a threatened bird in a broken ecosystem. Throughout this quest, a multitude of socio-political layers unravelled that need to be brought to the surface. How can one talk about an ecological collapse without acknowledging the many multilayered narratives that unfold in the world's largest (tilting) "democracy"? In a country with more than one billion inhabitants with a vast number of cultural backgrounds, it is important not to give simple answers to complex questions. The aim of this programme has been to create a platform to learn, converse and share in an allowing and supportive setting, and in such, welcoming new narratives to arise.
"Democracy is not a form of government but a form of social organisation" - B.R. Ambedkar
Through the gazes of our invited collaborators and guests, notions of imagination, community, witnessing and power structures are discussed and manifested through food, poetry, lectures and a public intervention. The development of DEMOCRACY - THE ENDANGERED BIRD has been made possible through the support of a residency at The Nordic Art Association (NKF) and is funded by The Swedish Arts Council and Nordic Culture Fund.
Collaborators, initiators and guests:
Arijit Bhattacharyya is an artist and independent curator based in Weimar, Germany. His work delves into narratives of resistance through murals, design, engagements, cooking, and performances. He curates projects exploring social dissent. Recent solo exhibitions include Sea of Forests at the ChertLüdde and From Forests We Are And Forests We Will Be at the Kunstverein Braunschweig. Recent group exhibitions include Studio Mondial, Berlin, Walle Walle*, Goethe-Nationalmuseum, Weimar and Casa di Goethe, Rome, ÜBER LEITUNGEN. INFRA STRUCTURES, Halle 14, Leipzig, dhak dhak ho-hum ah eekff iii ie, Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg.
Yogesh Barve and Saviya Lopes are visual artists based in Mumbai. They were participating artists and later, the artistic directors at Clark House Initiative. They were both on the curatorial team for Kochi Students Biennale 2022-23.
Barve's work attempts to open new aesthetic views that deal with social phenomena such as in/equality, ir/rationality, the un/seen or the in/outsider. Barve has been a part of 2nd Transnational Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. In 2015, he was invited for the residency at Google Cultural Institute, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Simon Castes and Julie Boukobza; and “How little you know about me” by Joowon Park at National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea in 2018 amongst many other exhibitions since 2012.
Lopes' practice speaks on a feminist key, intersectional, with nuances, transparency and delicately conveying stories of violence, of heritage and colonialism. Selective exhibitions include “The City in the Blue Daylight”, Dakar Biennale in 2016; Gondwana Series – an intervention at Centre Pompidou, Paris in 2017; “Working Practices”, The Showroom, London; and she has also been part of the "Crown Letter Project’s" collective group exhibitions at Foundation Fiminco, Paris; Bienalsur, Argentina and Institut français du Japon Kansai.
Poonam Jain works with drawing, installation, text and gestural works to foreground the intersection of seemingly divergent fields of pedagogy, economy and architecture. Jain is currently implementing a project with India Foundation for the Arts. In 2018, she was a resident at Art Dubai. Recent group exhibitions include Sapar Contemporary, New York, New Gallery, Paris, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, INSERT 2014, New Delhi; Gdanska Galeria Miejska 2, Poland. Solo exhibitions include 1x1 art gallery, Art Dubai as well as Clark House Initiative where Jain was also a member 2011-2016.
Hillside Projects is artists Emily Berry Mennerdahl and Jonas Böttern based in Stockholm, Sweden. Through performance, video and text, their work explores tales of disappearances in the natural world and the interrelated socio-political narratives that arise through these tales. Recent presentations include PhotoKTM5 in Kathmandu, Nepal, Species, Soil and Successors at Oyoun, Berlin, dhak dhak ho-hum ah eekff iii ie, Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg, Memorial for the Lost at Bonniers konsthall, Searching for the European Roller at Dazibao, Montréal. In 2023/2024, Hillside Projects are artists in residence at IASPIS (The Swedish Arts Grants Committee) in Stockholm.
Amila Puzić is an art historian living and working in Gothenburg. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb. Together with Anja Bogojević, she runs the Association for Contemporary Curatorial and Art Practices Mart. She explores issues of socially engaged art and art in public space in former Yugoslavia. Puzić co-curated the Pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 58th Venice Biennale represented by artist Danica Dakić. She is currently employed as a curator at the Röda Sten Konsthall in Gothenburg.
Graphic Design: Oskar Laurin and William J Andersson
The title of this programme is borrowed from a text written by Arijit Bhattacharyya
The Nordic Art Association (NKF) is supported by Stockholm stad