Exploring the India Art, Architecture & Design Biennale
In a splendid celebration of India’s rich artistic and architectural heritage, the India Art, Architecture, & Design Biennale (IAADB) is set to grace the historic Red Fort in Delhi from December 9 to 15. This extraordinary event promises to be a remarkable showcase of India’s artistic and architectural legacy. It will feature a series of specially curated thematic displays within the picturesque backdrop of the Red Fort.
The Ministry of Culture unveiled the Biennale logo at the curtain raiser event organised at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi, on 7th October. The Biennale will comprise events scheduled in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.
Unveiling the Magnificence of India’s Cultural Heritage
From the intricate doors and historic temples to antique step wells (baoli) and exquisite textile designs, the IAADB ties together the threads of India’s cultural history through exclusive curated events. It also seeks to expand the country’s artistic vision. It is a journey that will take visitors on a captivating exploration of the nation’s artistic and architectural past and invite them to delve into the enchanting stories that have shaped India’s identity.
The Venue: A Historical Marvel
This unique biennale will unfold within three British-era barracks on the grounds of the Mughal-era monument, the Red Fort. The juxtaposition of British and Mughal influences creates a setting that exudes historical significance, making it a fitting stage for this grand celebration of India’s cultural heritage.
Thematic Displays: An Overview of the Indian Art, Architecture & Design Biennale
Each day’s programmes will begin with a keynote speech by a prominent artist, designer, or architect. The IAADB will feature seven captivating themes spread over seven days, each offering a unique perspective on India’s artistic and architectural treasures. Here’s a glimpse into what each theme holds:
Day 1: Doors of India
The inaugural day, ‘Doors of India,’ pays tribute to the diverse and distinctive doors and gates that adorn our country. It’s an immersive experience that invites you to explore the doors that have marked India’s architectural journey. The day also presents a thought-provoking discussion on ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Arc de Triomphe and India Gate,’ highlighting intriguing design parallels between these iconic sites in Paris and Delhi.
Day 2: Gardens of India
On the second day, ‘Gardens of India,’ takes centre stage. This theme explores the multifaceted role of gardens in Indian culture, encompassing art, mythology, belief, popular culture, architecture, well-being, ecology, heritage, and human imagination. This day will showcase how gardens have been integral to the Indian way of life.
Day 3: Baolis of India
‘Baolis of India’ will be the focus of the third day, shedding light on the significance of step wells (baoli) in India’s architectural heritage. These unique structures, with their intricate designs and engineering marvels, will be celebrated for their role in preserving and harnessing water resources in the past.
Day 4: Temples of India
Day four delves into the architectural grandeur and engineering feats of India’s ancient temples. ‘Temples of India’ will take you on a journey through time, highlighting the awe-inspiring temples that have stood the test of time. It will also explore the architectural marvels of the post-Independence era.
Day 5: Architectural Wonders of Independent India
The fifth day of IAADB is dedicated to celebrating India’s architectural achievements post-independence. ‘Architectural Wonders of Independent India’ will showcase the modern architectural marvels that define the country’s contemporary landscape.
Day 6: Indigenous Design
‘Indigenous Design’ will be the theme on the penultimate day. This theme emphasises the importance of preserving age-old traditions and regional identities in architecture and design. This day will delve into the essence of India’s diverse cultural heritage and its influence on design.
Day 7: Women in Architecture and Design
The biennale concludes with a day dedicated to recognising and celebrating the significant contributions of women in the fields of architecture and design. It’s an opportunity to applaud the brilliance and creativity of women who have left an indelible mark on India’s architectural and design landscape.
The Road Ahead
The IAADB promises to be more than just a cultural event. It is a stepping stone towards India’s participation in the prestigious Venice Biennale in 2024. As the world eagerly awaits this grand celebration of art, architecture, and design, the Red Fort stands ready to host a historic event that will showcase India’s cultural richness to the world.
In accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s prior mandate, this biennale will also serve as an introduction to the “cultural space” in Delhi at Red Fort, advancing the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) that the Ministry of Culture signed at the May International Museum Expo. The IAADB is a testament to India’s vibrant cultural history. It is bound to leave a lasting impression on all those who have the privilege of experiencing it.
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By Melissa D’Mello