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FotoFest 2018 Biennial

 

INDIA - Contemporary Photography and New Media Art
March 10 - April 22, 2018    Houston, Texas USA

Biennial Curators in India

 

FOTOFEST 2018 BIENNIAL Co-curator Steven Evans (left) and Lead Curator Sunil Gupta (center) speak with a young photographer after a talk in Delhi, India


Curators for the FOTOFEST 2018 BIENNIAL — the Seventeenth International Biennial of Photography and New Media Art, traveled to India this past Spring to research work and meet with artists for the 2018 Biennial, focused on contemporary photographic and new media art from INDIA.

Lead Curator Sunil Gupta led FotoFest Executive Director Steven Evans on a journey through Delhi and Mumbai, India’s political, financial, and cultural capitols. Over the course of a week, the curators held meetings and made studio visits with over 25 artists from multiple cities, participated in portfolio reviews, and lectured about FotoFest to art students and the public. Together, Gupta and Evans bring nearly 60 years of curatorial experience with contemporary photography and art to the project.

“The exhibition will address contemporary art practices using photography and new media in their broadest sense, by people of Indian origin in India and overseas,” says Gupta, a curator, educator and artist who has lived and worked in India, Canada and the United Kingdom for over 40 years. The 2018 Biennial will present artists and collectives that work in dialogue with the country’s history, emergent future, and people.


This is an exciting juncture for India and its artists. We are aware of the very sophisticated creative activity coming out of the region, little of which has been highlighted in the United States, especially not on the scale of the upcoming FotoFest Biennial. 
— Steven Evans, Biennial Co-Curator


The FotoFest 2018 Biennial, INDIA: Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art, takes place March 10 – April 22, 2018, in Houston, Texas. The 33-year old festival draws over 275,000 international visitors over the course of its six-week run. It is the longest-running, and largest international contemporary photographic art event in the United States, and one of the world’s most respected. The 2018 Biennial will be the first time in its 35 year history that the event will focus so directly on South Asia.

The FotoFest 2018 Biennial will feature more than 35 artists in its central exhibition, which will look at a mix of approaches, including art photography, installation, moving image, journalism and documentary photography. “We are dedicated to presenting a broad range of contemporary practices,” affirms Evans.

The focus on India and its society is an acknowledgment of its place at the forefront of a changing world. In the seven decades since its emergence from colonialism, India has established itself as a cultural power and growing global economy - currently the seventh largest in the world.

The FotoFest Biennial attracts artists, art professionals, collectors, and patrons from over 35 countries. Houston, the host city for the FotoFest Biennial, has the fastest growing population of Indian-Americans in the United States, adding to the current population of over 150,000. The local population, many of whom emigrated to work at the famous Texas Medical Center and NASA’s Johnson Space Center, includes a large number of educators, engineers and entrepreneurs. They are, as a whole, an affluent, and sophisticated community with strong cultural roots. The Biennial affords the city and region’s larger population (6.9 million), and the festival’s international visitors to engage the culture of it’s the region and confront stereotypes.

"The FotoFest 2018 Biennial presents a unique opportunity to explore contemporary Indian art on a large international stage," says Evans, "not only for the artists, but for the viewers, many of whom will be encountering an expansive view of contemporary South Asian photographic art for the first time." 


We expect it to challenge many conventions and expectations for the region, and for its art and cultures. — Steven Evans, Biennial Co-Curator


FotoFest has a long history of focusing international attention on emerging and under-known regions. At the FotoFest 1992 Biennial, FotoFest placed a spotlight on Latin American photography in one of the largest exhibition of its kind up to that point. In 1994, they did the same with a focus on Latino Photography in the U.S. In 2000, the FotoFest Biennial exhibition on Contemporary Korean Photography was the first to bring wide attention to that country’s photographers in the West, spawning successive generations of young and talented image-makers. FotoFest 2008’s China Biennial focused on the evolution of photography in that country between 1934 and 2008. The 2012 Biennial was a groundbreaking exhibition of post-war Soviet and Russian photography. Recently, the 2014 Biennial focused on the Arab World, showcasing 49 artists in what was the largest program of its kind in over a decade.

INDIA: Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art will include the central exhibition, on view across multiple venues; a conference on contemporary Indian Art; forums and panel discussions; commissioned projects; a film program; and a performing arts program. FotoFest will publish a hardcover book to accompany the program, with reproductions from Biennial artists, and essays from experts on the region and contemporary art.


ADDITIONAL BIENNIAL PROGRAMS

The 2018 International Meeting Place Portfolio Review for Artists takes place during the FotoFest 2018 Biennial, March 10 - 23, 2018. The Meeting Place is a 12-day long event that brings provides an opportunity for 450 artists to meet, one-on-one with over 150 national and international curators, publishers, gallerists, and photography industry leaders. The Meeting Place remains the most international and largest portfolio review program of its kind in the world, leading to thousands of exhibitions, arts sales, and publications for participating artists. Registration for the 2018 Meeting Place is open now.

The Meeting Place, and the 2018 INDIA exhibitions will be accompanied by the non-thematic, biennial exhibition, the Discoveries of the Meeting Place, an exhibition of works by 10 artists selected by multiple curators from the previous Meeting Place Portfolio Review in 2016. The exhibition has become an important imprimatur for emerging photographic artists.

FotoFest’s International Fine Print Auction is scheduled for Monday, March 19, 2018, in conjunction with a special program for collectors. The FotoFest Fine Print Auction presents over 60 works, a curated selection of particularly high-quality, international contemporary artwork. It is FotoFest’s principal fundraiser, occurring once every two years. The 2018 Auction will be conducted by Denise Bethel, the former Chair of Photographs, Americas, Sotheby’s, Inc.

Over 100 independent museums, art galleries, non-profit art centers and corporate spaces will participate in the FotoFest 2018 Biennial by presenting photography and photography events during the festival’s six weeks.


 

FOTOFEST 2018 BIENNIAL SPONSORS
Early supporters of the FotoFest 2018 Biennial include the FotoFest Board of Directors, Houston Endowment, Inc., City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, The Wortham Foundation, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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