From the world’s most skilled place let us not get reduced to a rootless, faceless, spiritless land.

From the world’s most skilled place let us not get reduced to a rootless, faceless, spiritless land.

One of India’s pioneering cultural practitioners, Rajeev Sethi has led the way in fostering inter-disciplinary collaborations between art and architecture, design and performance, by conceptualizing festivals and exhibitions that celebrate the genius of the sub-continental craftsperson. From India-focused shows at the Smithsonian institutions in the mid-1980s to the Jaya He GVK New Museum at the Mumbai airport in 2014, Sethi has successfully tried to re-invent visual cultural traditions by developing a spirited conversation between crafts-based practices and contemporary art forms. Here, he travels back in time with Abhay Sardesai to trace his early influences and re-visit some of his exceptional shows.

Otto Frei. Installation

Otto Frei. Installation. At Golden Eye, New York. 1985. Project conceptualized by Rajeev Sethi.

Rajeev Sethi: But, why do you have a Crafts issue?

Abhay Sardesai: It’s an occasion really to look at the life and career of the art/craft binary – to know how crafts-based practices have provided a resource for artists to draw from and what this give-and-take implies.