Avani Tanya : Reading museums

24th May 2020
6pm IST
The webinar will be held on the online platform Zoom. To join the webinar please click on the link below:

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We will be conversation with artist Avani Tanya on her book projects relooking at objects and sites as museums, her residency at the Delfina Foundation and its resultant publication, A selective Guide to the V&A’s South Asian Collection, and newer works in progress.

About A selective Guide to the V&A’s South Asian Collection :

In response to my time as an artist-in-residence at the museum, in the summer of 2017, I put together a ‘selective guide’ book that takes a reader through a short personal tour of the South Asia collection at the V&A in London. It weaving together thirteen seemingly disparate objects—some that are present and some that are absent in the gallery, displayed elsewhere in the museum, in storage or indeed in India. In order to have a plural voice, I invited artists and curators from both UK and South Asia (India and Pakistan) to respond, in creative ways, to specific objects, that guide a reader through various parts of the collection.

Drawing bridges between objects that sit in different collections in the museum but are from South Asia, such as the Rapid Response collection and the Museum of Childhood, the publication attempts to move away from the official museological narrative and makes inquiries about what an alternative understanding of the objects could be; not giving the ‘facts’ but instead creating idiosyncratic links though the collection as the whole and responding to how objects are displayed and how personal meaning is created through display and interpretation.

The contributions are in the form of questions, descriptive writing, poetry and collage. Through personal responses they tackle the larger themes of hidden power structures, trade history between the continents, the provenance of the objects, the magic and mystery one experiences when looking at a collection such as the V&A’s, questions of ownership (national/individual) and of curation amongst others.
– Avani Tanya

About the artist :

Images, found objects, sculpture and oral history play a significant role as material in Avani’s artistic practice. She is interested in stories that collections tell, and through that, in urban life and the nature of memory. In 2017 she was an artist in residence at the Delfina Foundation and the V&A Museum in London where she created a collaborative book that interprets objects from the museum’s collections from South Asia.