The Telegraph
Saturday , December 17 , 2016

CIMA Awards is back... in a whole new avatar 

Installation theatre by Suman Mukhopadhyay at CIMA Awards Show 2015

CIMA Awards is back for its second edition and this time it comes with a month-long festival that celebrates art in all its forms — CIMA Awards: The Kolkata Art Festival 2017.

The festival, initiated and supported by Art & Heritage Foundation and CIMA, will kick-off with the CIMA Awards ceremony on February 4, 2017, at the Oberoi Grand. Fifteen awards including the CIMA Award, two Jury Awards, two Special Mentions, four Merit Awards and four Director’s Choice Awards will be awarded to artists whose work will be chosen from 200 finalists by a nine-member jury in January.

The CIMA Award: The Kolkata Art Festival will be open from February 5. One of the components will be the CIMA Award displaying the works of all 200 finalists. Paintings, sculptures, graphics and emerging new media such as video art, installations, graphic novel and digital art will be showcased across five venues — CIMA Gallery, Studio 21, Academy of Fine Arts, Gem Cinema and Old Bungalow at 3, Dover Park.

The month-long festival will include collateral ventures by several city institutions, including 15 schools, like seminars, discussions and workshops on the topic of ‘connecting histories — tradition and modernity’.

“Once we were successful in executing something as daunting as the CIMA Awards, which took almost two years to organise with artworks coming in from all across the country, for the second edition we felt why not expand the scope of the project and also include other disciplines and other agencies and institutions who are working in the field of art in Calcutta and give a holistic experience of arts to the city,” said Rakhi Sarkar, director, CIMA.

So while Chitrabani will organise a show on the history of photography and a screening of short films, the Indian Chamber of Commerce Calcutta Foundation will lead several reputed schools in the city in a project titled 'Connecting Histories — Kolkata and the World’.

One collateral venture will be a travelling show called Art Space Germany: Revisited with 42 works by Armando, Candice Breitz, Tony Cragg, Marianne Eigenheer, Ayse Erkmen, Christine Hill, Magdalena Jetelová, Per Kirkeby, Joseph Kosuth, Marie-Jo Lafontaine, Nam June Paik, Giuseppe Spagnulo and Herman de Vries, organised by the Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan. The exhibition with installations, paintings, sculptures and video art will be set up at the National Library with the old building as the backdrop.

“Art Space Germany features artworks by non-Germans. These artists are not German-born but live in Germany, work in Germany and create art in Germany and through their work bring experiences from their country into Germany. The exhibition shows exactly that,” said Friso Maecker, director of Goethe Institut-Max Mueller Bhavan.
Talking about the venue of the project, Friso said: “The beautiful old buildings deserve a second chance and they form a part of the history of the city and of its people. The National Library will create that wow effect with its completely different atmosphere that contrasts with the very contemporary artworks”.

Goethe Institut will create a programme around the exhibition with tours of the exhibition, some talks and some performances.

One of the projects of The Kolkata Art Festival is an international symposium titled Connecting Histories, directed by Alka Pande, an art historian, at the Oberoi Grand from February 5 to 8. This will see artists and heads of museums, art journal publishers and curators, from India and abroad, speaking on various aspects.

Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, under their Science and Heritage Interface (SandHI) initiative is creating a design capsule for the festival. Many galleries in the city like Gurusaday Museum, Galerie 88, Experimenter Gallery, Akar Prakar, Harrington Street Art Centre and Ganges Gallery will be curating special shows for the month-long show.

Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute will curate a showing at Gem Cinema titled ‘Shifting Narratives: A Multi-disciplinary Art Project’.

It is not just visual arts that will find a place in the festival; there will be similar ventures in performance art like a special western classical music concert by the Calcutta Chamber Orchestra organised by the Calcutta School of Music, performances by Usha Uthup, Debojyoti Mishra and Bickram Ghosh.

The Kolkata Art Festival is being aligned with other art festivals like the Jaipur Lit Fest, the India Art Fair, the Kochi Biennale and the Kala Ghoda so that it is part of the same circuit.

The festival will come to a close with a symposium on Connecting Histories: Shifting Cultures and Shrinking Collections by CREDAI on March 4, that will bring in architects and urban planners from around the world.
Details of the events and collaterals lined up for CIMA Awards — The Kolkata Arts Festival 2017 will be periodically updated at the CIMA Awards website

Chandreyee Chatterjee
Pictures: Arnab Mondal and the archives

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