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Simone Conti Blog – February 2012

Colombo Art Biennale 2012 audio podcast with festival founder and director Annoushka Hempel http://t.co/YMQIm3jv via @HotShoeBlog

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Smith Travel Blog – February 2012

When the Colombo Art Biennale hits town next month, two of Smith’s Sri Lanka boutique hotels will be front and centre for the line-up of exciting events. CapitalColombo will swap colonial grandeur for cutting-edge cool from 15 to 19 February, as artists, curators and performers gather for exhibitions, talks and dinners across the city.

Sri Lankan boutique hotels participate in Colombo Art Biennale. Image courtesy of Artaholicblog.com

Historical hipster Casa Colombo (below) will play host to a talk with Viennese art historian Roman Berka, who’ll wax lyrical on ‘Art and an expanded museum concept’, Friday 17 February, 11am–12.30pm. Housed within a  200-year-old Moorish mansion, decked out with ultra-contemporary, custom-designed pieces from Lalin Jinasena, Casa Colombo is the ideal setting to explore the idea of art’s place beyond galleries.

Casa Colombo boutique hotel in Sri Lanka

On Sunday 19 February, 11am–12.30pm, Paradise Road Gallery is the stylish scene for Jagath Weerasinghe’s talk, ‘What now, after the 90s trend?’. Stay on-trend yourself by booking a suite at Paradise Road Tintagel Colombo (below). Lifestyle brand Paradise Road founder Shanth Fernando’s lavish boutique hotel in chichi Cinnamon Gardens is just a short tuk tuk ride away.

Paradise Road Tintagel Colombo boutique hotel in Sri Lanka

Check out the full Colombo Art Biennale programme or discover the best places to eat, play and shop in our insider city guide to Colombo.

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Hotshoe – February 2012

Beware of the critic whose reputation depends on the power to impress the public with a semblance of knowledge, and the artist who attempts to do the same with skill and technical swagger. An artists’ perspective, see Gallery Talk 16 February Critique versus Criticism

This looks like a timely talk topic and one that’s sure to get us all thinking about our roles – as both critics/reviewers and art producers. It’s also important to challenge the taste makers and gatekeepers in the arts, especially those who like to dazzle and, sometimes, befuddle with language games and (apparent) knowledge. Also, to the artists who place technical virtuosity above all else.

As part of Hotshoe Blog supporting the Colombo Art Biennale (CAB) 2012, The Roaming Eye (who has been travelling off shore looking at all creatures great and small) is delighted to share the talks and conversations scheduled for the festival. It’s an exciting and interesting line up with international and local artists and curators contributing to a diverse range of topics. The schedule is still evolving, so keep checking in as relevant updates will be posted. However, The Roaming Eye will be at the biennale for the 18 and 19 February and will be reporting from the festival, talking to some of the photographers and visual artists and attending a couple of the talks on those days.

Of particular interest to readers of this blog is photojournalist, activist, writer and curator Dr Shahidul Alam from Bangladesh. The Roaming Eye hopes to do a short interview with him for the blog, so look out for it as a short podcast especially if you’re unfamiliar with his work.

It’s always good to discover new things and search for fresh perspectives – one of the hallmarks of Hotshoe and its tagline. But we’re also aware that it’s easy to say we do it but the proof is in actually getting out there and doing it – not just saying we do. Otherwise, we’re just blowing hot air. Plus, in an increasingly global world, a global approach is needed to stave of Eurocentrism and Northern-America bias int he photography and arts worlds.

Thursday 16 February 2012
Session 1 – 11.00am – 12.30pm – “Why a Biennale?” A conversation with the BECOMING 2012 organisers.

Presented to the public by  Neil Butler, UK Co-Director CAB 2012 (Keynote), Roman Berka, Suresh Jeyaram – Curators, CAB 2012, Annoushka Hempel, Festival Founder & Director, Jagath Weerasinghe, Co-Director

An introductory talk also featuring the Biennale Curators – Roman Berka and Suresh Jeyaram – to set the scope of the range of works being presented and the topics covered in Talks to come. Aimed at participating artists, students and the general public.
Venue: Park Street Hotel, Park Street, Colombo 2 (NOT TICKETED)

Session 2 – 4.00 – 6.00pm – Harry Peris, The ’43 Group and the Sapumal Foundation.

Gallery Talk –  2.00 – 3.00pm –  “Critique versus Critcism”
Speaker: Leo Pasqualge, Artist BECOMING 2012.

“Beware of the critic whose reputation depends on the power to impress the public with a semblance of knowledge, and the artist who attempts to do the same with skill and technical swagger” – An artists’ perspective.
Venue: JDA Perera Gallery (NOT TICKETED)

Friday 17 February 2012
Session 1 – 11.00am – 12.30pm – “Building Bridges – The South Asian Context”
Speaker: Suresh Jeyaram, Curator BECOMING 2012

“Sethu Samudram” is a three-year collaborative art project and a dialog-making platform between Theertha International Artists Collective, Colombo, Sri Lanka and 1Shanthi Road in Bangalore, India, bridging art, history and human relations. “Sethu Samudram” is the name of the mythical bridge found in Ramayana, meaning the bridge across the ocean. This bridge connects Sri Lanka and India.
Venue: Nuga Gama, Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo 3

Saturday 18 February 2012
Session 1 – 11.00am – 12.30pm – “The Debate – Does great art require great skill?”

Panel: Cecil Balmond UK/Sri Lanka, Shahidul Alam, Bangladesh and Biennale artists. Dr Shahidul Alam is a world-renowned photojournalist, activist and writer from Bangladesh who will be at the festival. His profile is on the CAB website 

Yes or No? an interactive debate on the benchmarks to becoming a great artist. The audience will be invited to vote.
Venue: Barefoot Gallery

Photo of Shahidul Alam

Session 2 – 2.30pm – 4.00pm – “Art as a Witness”
Speaker: Shahidul Alam, Bangladesh

Faced with imposed situations of repression, cultural activists have had to find new ways of resistance. This has required documentation, articulation and tools of creative expression to deal with injustice in many forms. By using both new and traditional media, as well as the networking ability of social media, lean and tenacious campaigns are formed that insisted on being heard and bent on achieving justice.

The presentation attempts to show how, by resisting not only the formal entities that have usurped power, but also the cultural norms that attempt to pigeon-hole cultural practice in terms of ‘fine art’, have tried to ensure that our ‘art’ does not limit itself to admiration in a gallery. It breathes the gunpowder laden air of street battles with police, the dank vapours of the factory floor and pervades the silence of patriarchal inner chamber

Session 3 – 4.30pm – 6.00pm – “Art and Architecture”

Sunday 19 February
Session 1 – 11.00am – 12.30pm – “What now – after the ‘90s Trend?”
Speaker: Jagath Weerasinghe,Sri Lanka

Art of the 1990s marked a turning point in Sri Lankan modernist art. It brought in a narrative turn to the modernist art and pushed it beyond modernist aesthetics. In this presentation Jagath Weerasinghe will talk on this change and attempt at addressing the possibilities and limitations that the 90’s trend brought in.
Venue: CASA Colombo, Galle Road, Colombo 4

Session 2 – 4.00 – 5.30pm – “Art and an expanded Museum Concept”
Speaker: Roman Berka, Museum In Progress, Vienna, Austria

Daily newspapers, magazines, billboards, television, information screens, building façades or the safety curtain in the Vienna State Opera House have been used temporarily for media- and site-specific contemporary art. Outside the walls of the traditional White Cube, Museum in Progress is active in a wide-ranging social environment and is devoted to an avant-garde concept of art that includes other social systems besides the traditional artistic milieu. In this way it elaborates on the artistic concepts of the 1960s and 1970s, creating a virtual “museum of the twenty-first century” that grows in the public sphere like a social sculpture. Philosophy, science, politics and other aspects of social life are reflected in the contributions, which encourage socially relevant discussion on the basis of an expanded conception of art.
Venue: SKKY Bar, 4th Floor, 42 Sir Mohamad Macan Markar Mw., Colombo 3

Session 3 – “Art as a Social Sculpture”


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Der Standard: February 2012

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HotShoe: February 2012

Colombo Art Biennale 2012 audio podcast with festival founder and director Annoushka Hempel

Posted on February 3, 2012 by  | Leave a comment 

With just 12 days to go till the Colombo Art Biennale (CAB) opens – from 15-19 February – The Roaming Eye caught up with CAB  festival founder and director Annoushka Hempel to find out more ahead of the opening.Annoushka kindly spared 30 mins to talk to Hotshoe Blog about how the festival started in post-conflict Sri Lanka, its aims, the type of works on show, funding, the theme ‘Becoming’, and future developments and hopes. The festival takes place across three sites Park Street Mews, JDA Perera Gallery and the National Art Gallery.

The audio is just under 30 mins long and it’s really worth listening to every second. So, why not tune in while you cook, clean or just sit back and listen.

Click on the link below – it goes lime green – then follow it the podcast named CAB Annoushka Hempel_Audio1 and click again for it to load. Enjoy.

Colombo Art Biennale 2012 interview with Annoushka Hempel

For those who like visuals, watch this video I am  (1m 59s) – a multimedia exploration of identity through the lives of Sri Lankan elders. It reflects on the question: Was there a time when Sri Lankans didn’t describe themselves as Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim or Burgher? and is a journey seeking a generation who identified themselves based on kith and kin, livelihoods and hometowns as they did in times of lore and in so doing it sheds light on questions about identity and experiences of conflict.

Kannan Arunasalam’s journey took him to Jaffna, Kandy and Galle, where he visited churches, kovils, temples and mosques and was welcomed into people’s homes and workplaces. He met and photographed elders; many wise men and women who trusted him with their life stories.

Also here’s another video snippet (1m 13s) with Nigel Sense (Australia) – one of the featured artists at the Colombo Art Biennale 2012.

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ArtsHub: January 2012

Colombo Art Biennale set for a big year

By ArtsHub ArtsHub | Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This month, the Colombo Art Biennale (CAB) will be taking over Park Street Mews, J.D.A. Perera Gallery and the National Art Gallery of Sri Lanka to exhibit a range of contemporary art from a variety of local and international artists.

Running from February 15-19, CAB will feature 24 local and 17 international artists from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Australia and the U.S.

This years theme is ‘Becoming’ and aims to emphasise the possibility for development and positive change in Sri Lanka.

“The 2012 CAB theme ‘Becoming’ denotes the idea of potentiality of transformation or movement – a transformation that is initiated and in progress. While Becoming translates into an idea of a transitional space, meaning ‘possibility of being in a moment between two decisive ends’, it plays on the uncertainty of certainty, up-rootedness, giving it a sense of akathesia (state of restlessness), criticality and open-endedness eluding logical conclusions or undoubted convictions. Therefore, ‘Becoming’ remains distanced from what it was before, and it is the last space left for pondering before concretizing the trajectory’s end. It’s a space for envisions, doubts, self- reflections, mirroring and intensity of thought,” said co-founder Jagath Weerasinghe in The Sunday Times.

Curating the exhibition are curators Suresh Jayaram and Roman Berka, and this year will see a new face in the role of co-director of the Colombo Art Biennale, Neil Butler.

Te Sri Lankan artists to be featured at the Biennale are: Anoli Perera, Anoma Rajakaruna, Anura Krishantha, Varatharajan Balamurugan, Bandu Manamperi, Chandragupta Thenuwara, Dominic Sansoni, Fireflies featuring: Lakisha Fernando , Manori Jayasinghe, Therica Miyanadeniya, Vijayalan Thujiba, Inoka De Silva, Janany Cooray, Krishanthi Sepalika, Manori Gamarachchi, H. D. Shamila , Niranjala Gunasekera , Priyanthi Kumari , Layla Gonaduwa; Jagath Weerasinghe, Janananda Laksiri, Kannan Arunasalam, Koralegedara Pushpakumara, Kusal Gunasekara, Leo Pasqualge, Malaka Dewapriya, Manori Jayasinghe, Menika van der Poorten, Pala Pothupitiye, Pradeep Chandrasiri, Pradeep Thalawatte, Sanath Kalubadana, Tisath Thoradeniya, Vaidehi Rajasingham and Vimukthi Jayasundara.

International artists who will also be featured include David Barbarino – Germany, Aaron Burton – Australia, Sujan Chitrakar – Nepal, Christian Eisenberger, Hanna Hollmann, Karl Karner, Hans Schabus and Linda Samaraweerová – Austria, Erik van Lieshout – Netherlands, Tayeba Lipi – Bangladesh, Maria McCavana – Scotland/Ireland, Martha Rosler – USA, Erik Pirolt – Norway, Jesper Nordahl – Sweden, Christoph Schlingensief – Germany, Nigel Sense – Australia, Madiha Sikander – Pakistan, , Tori Wraanes – Norway and Vibha Galhotra – India.

More information on the exhibitions can be found at the official website.

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Austrian Cultural Forum

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International Press

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For press inquiries, please contact Mithila on mithila22@gmail.com

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