@Culture: World Social Forum

Mumbai 2004, Porte Alegre 2005, Nairobi 2007

Curated by Madhusree Dutta and Tushar Joag

@Culture was a loose group of artists and art initiatives mobilised by Majlis and Open Circle - an artist collective in Mumbai, to work within the framework of World Social Forum. WSF is a unique and inclusive conglomeration against capitalist globalisation and war. It facilitates networking among the global civil societies based on the principle of solidarity and resource sharing. Each year the annual assembly takes place in different parts of the globe in order to energies the resistance movements in those locations. After its inception in Brazil in 2001 and the three consecutive annual assemblies in Porte Alegre, the forum was hosted in Mumbai in 2004 - where the general election, that would defeat the incumbent rightwing Govt., was impending. The forum energised the political climate of the country and forged large scale solidarity networks between movements. @Culture was one such entity.

The @Culture group made a crucial and long lasting intervention by placing the voices of artists and art concerns at the centre of the political platform and by developing an infrastructural scheme that could accommodate and play host to diverse art projects that poured in from all parts of the globe. It required complex political and artistic negotiations both with the activists and the artists as well as an attitude towards the scale and the materiality that could be flamboyant and yet remain sensitive to different cultures. The group functioned through three editions of the forum - 2004 in Mumbai, 2005 in Porte Alegre and 2007 in Nairobi where it expanded to initiatives in Africa and mounted an expansive programme on – Moving People: Africa-Asia interface on Migration, Refuge, Exile and Diaspora. The work of @Culture had become a benchmark for consecutive instances of large scale interfacing of art and activism - in recognising the role of art in the space of activism and expanding the scope of activism in the realm of art practices.

Curator's Report
Programme Flyer
Work in Progress by Paromita Vohra