The NEXT-STEP Residency Programme 2019, in its sixth edition, invited applications from emerging Indian artists through an open call. The open call focused on applications from artists working with new-media who would be keen to explore and experiment with photography, film and video, animation, digital, installation, light and projection, media arts, music, sound and technology.
Titled, ‘Here & Now’, the Next Step Residency Programme’s concept focused on today’s polarized times, where we are witness to the shifting political landscape in India, and the anguish of the political unrest is visible. The creative fraternity has been censored and has this has triggered new voices of resistance and artist protest. The residency invited creative practitioners to critique and learns from the impact of these artist projects, their concepts, media and how one could encourage new voices of individuals that reflect socio-political attitudes and action for a proactive involvement.
The five artists selected for the residency from across the country were Anisha Baid, Kandhakar Ohida, Manjot Kaur, Shubham Kumar and Vikrant Kano. They were selected by a jury that included artist Pushpamala N, arts administrator and artist Ayisha Abraham, founder of 1Shanthiroad and art historian Suresh Jayaram.
The first week of the residency was spent in the artists getting acquainted with each other, the residency space and 1Shanthiroad’s team. The artists presented and shared their work with each other leading to enriching peer critique sessions. The team at 1Shanthiroad had scheduled visits to prominent sites around the city so the artists get oriented with the city and all it offered including places to source materials from and get fabrication done.
In the second week of June, a trip to Mysore was organized with a visit to artist N.S. Harsha’s studio along with a brief tour around the city. The artists were also able to visit the private collection at R.G. Singh’s home, a specialist in Mysore style painting. At N.S. Harsha’s studio, the artists had a chance to engage in long discussions about his work while also discussing their own work.
During the residency, 1Shanthiroad also hosted presentations by Amshu Chukki, a Bangalore based artist and Shun Owada, a Japanese sound artist who was in India for a year through a grant. These were interesting for the resident artists as the presenting artists were young, so they were able to get a glimpse into the trajectories of artists’ careers after they finish their education and navigate the art world.
Over the course of the month, regular weekly meetings and feedback sessions took place among the artists. The artists were mentored by Suresh Jayaram and 1Shanthiroad’s team through the residency, who also provided assistance with an introduction to local materials and exposure to the social and political context of Bangalore.
The residency culminated in an open studio on 30 June 2019 that lasted for three days.