As a part of the lecture series, ‘Change and the Arts’ at Ahmedabad University jointly curated and supported by the Neekoee Foundation, we are pleased to announce our third speaker, Ms Sharmila Samant, a visual artist based in Mumbai. She graduated in Sculpture from the Sir J.J. School of Arts in 1989 and has a Diploma in Interior Design and Decoration at the L.S. Raheja College of Architecture, 1990, along with various residencies at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, in 1998- 2000 and the Gasworks, London, 2001.
Ms Samant works with a large variety of mediums and forms of visual art, including, installations, photography, and performance. Themes such as globalisation, identity and consumer culture are central to her work. She has also worked with various activist groups and communities engaging in projects that are collaborative and participatory, often times becoming an expression of the suppression and marginalisation of these groups. Her Mumbai-based collective called ‘the Open Circle’ is a platform for meaningful dialogue among artists on an intercultural level and sought to address and engage with contemporary socio-political issues via an integration of theory and practice.
Her upcoming talk at Ahmedabad University is called: ‘Pushing in from the margins: the changing dynamics of Art in Public Domain’. She will be discussing how contemporary public art focuses not just on public spaces but on the concepts of the public sphere. Discussion on ideas such as how it approaches concerns of the public sphere, negotiating its social and political implications within artistic practice will also be explored. The role of Public Art in the site of social relations, through public interaction, of debate to negotiate opinion formation, address social issues and question established opinions through creative cultural production will be observed.