Gandhi is not a subject of sentiment

Gandhi is not a subject of sentiment and nostalgia, but a subject of contemporary reflection…

India gets a national pavilion in the current edition of the Venice Biennale after eight years. The underlying theme of the Indian pavilion is the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Meera Menezes talks to curator Roobina Karode about the ‘idea’ of a national pavilion, her curatorial strategies and the enduring relevance of our national icon.

Exhibition view of Covering Letter by Jitish Kallat

Exhibition view of Covering Letter by Jitish Kallat. 2012. Fogscreen projection. 2019. Image courtesy of the artist and the India Pavilion Archive.

Meera Menezes: The last time we had an Indian national pavilion at Venice was in 2011. How important is India’s representation there?

Roobina Karode: Venice has the oldest Biennale and is still going strong with record-breaking visitors coming during the time of the Biennale. One has seen some incredible works here and enjoyed them. Our own contemporary consciousness about art is growing globally, and an event like the Venice Biennale will be consumed by millions on social media platforms, as well as through the exhibition. Our participation hasn’t come a minute too late and will hopefully continue hereafter. It will bring greater visibility to the artistic talent in India and hopefully give a sense of its prevalent diverse, multivalent practice.