for Vivan, on his 80th

Photo of Vivan by Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry

Vivan Sundaram had been working tirelessly over the last few years on renovating and envisioning a new life for Ivy Lodge and the Kasauli Art Centre, which he had planned to formally launch as SKAP, the SSAF–Kasauli Art Project, on his 80th birthday on 28 May 2023. Tragically, he passed away on 29 March 2023.


To celebrate Vivan and to mark the beginning of SKAP, a two-day programme was curated on 27th and 28th May for an intimate group of close friends and colleagues at Ivy Lodge in Kasauli.


Anuradha Kapur devised ‘Gagawaka Redacted’, a performance piece centred on sculptural costumes from Vivan’s Gagawaka: Making Strange (2011), with professional actors, and in collaboration with Pratima Pandey who had worked with Vivan in 2011, with lighting design by Vishal K Dar and sound design by Anuradha Kapur. This was performed in ‘The Pit’, an amphitheatre space that had been historically used for theatre making experiments at the Kasauli Art Centre.


Kasauli Art Centre 1976–1991, a major publication by SSAF–Tulika Books, that Vivan had been working on with Belinder Dhanoa, designer Sherna Dastur and publisher Indira (Indu) Chandrasekhar for over six years, was informally launched with a reading by Belinder Dhanoa and a discussion with artists who had earlier been at the Kasauli Art Centre, including Ranbir Kaleka, Manisha Parekh and others.


Writer Geetanjali Shree (an integral part of many of the theatre activities at the Kasauli Art Centre) read from her award-winning book Ret Samadhi followed by a discussion with Anuradha Kapur.


The dining room, one of the erstwhile venue for seminars at the Kasauli Art Centre, was transformed into a screening space for R.V. Ramani’s film, The Show is Already On (about The Fall of the Slab), and ‘Time is On My Side’, an audio-visual presentation prepared by Vivan Sundaram for his 2018 retrospective at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, and reconstructed by Babu Eshwar Prasad for its screening at Vivan’s memorial meeting at the Jawahar Bhavan on 17 April 2023.


The programme was further animated by in situ performances by artists Sonia Khurana and Inder Salim, on the newly constructed roof of the outhouse, and in the living room in front of the fireplace.


The two-day programme was both a celebration of Vivan’s remarkable vision and a precursor to the forthcoming activities at SKAP which will commence in the Summer of 2024.

Ivy Lodge by evening

Filmmaker R.V. Ramani in conversation with Ashish Rajadhyaksha after a screening of The Show Is Already On

Geetanjali Shree in conversation with Anuradha Kapur after a reading from Ret Samadhi

Inder Salim performing

Belinder Dhanoa in conversation with Latika Gupta at the launch of Kasauli Art Centre 1976–1991

Sonia Khurana’s performance

Gagawaka Redacted, performance conceived by Anuradha Kapur in collaboration with Pratima Pandey and Vishal K. Dar