Serendipity Arts Foundation and the Royal College of Art announce their inaugural Senior Artist Residency program with Sukanya Ghosh as its first Artist-in-Residence

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New Delhi: Serendipity Arts Foundation (SAF) and the Royal College of Art (RCA) have forged a partnership to launch the inaugural edition of a Senior Artist Residency programme. This collaboration marks a significant milestone, as it represents the first time in 120 years that RCA has opened its studios to an artist of South Asian origin. Sukanya Ghosh has been selected as the artist in residence for the 2024 edition and she will be immersing in the vibrant atmosphere of RCA’s campuses in London during her three-month immersive journey. 

The Senior Artist Residency offers an invaluable opportunity for established Indian artists to enrich their artistic practices, engage with students and professionals at RCA, and contribute to a broader artistic discourse through cultural exchange. Sukanya will have access to RCA’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and closely engage with the MA courses in Contemporary Art Practice and Curating Contemporary Art to further develop her work. 

“Sukanya is the first South Asian Artist-in-Residence at the Royal College of Art and we are delighted to welcome her. The RCA community will be enriched by her work with family archives and memory, and we very much hope she will benefit from being amongst the world’s largest community of postgraduate artists. I am grateful for our partnership with Serendipity Arts Foundation, which has enabled this hugely valuable creative exchange,” says Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor of the Royal College of Art. 

“We are thrilled to partner with the prestigious Royal College of Art and facilitate this enriching creative exchange. Sukanya’s residency marks a significant milestone as the first South Asian Artist-in-Residence at the institute. Her powerful work exploring family archives and memory will undoubtedly resonate deeply with the RCA’s dynamic post-graduate artist community. This collaboration exemplifies our commitment to fostering cross-cultural dialogues and providing platforms for artistic expression that transcends boundaries. We are confident that Sukanya’s time there will be transformative, allowing her to push the boundaries of her practice while gaining invaluable perspectives from a global community of creators,” says Smriti Rajgarhia Director, Serendipity Arts Festival & Foundation.

Sukanya’s artistic practice spans painting, photography, animation and moving images, as her storytelling explores questions of belonging, identity and place. For her residency project, Sukanya is using everyday household and grocery lists from her grandmother’s notebooks as a starting point to deliberate on the larger exploration of “travel, displacement and being somewhere else while deciphering the things that ground individuals”. Sukanya’s preoccupation with “to-do lists” isn’t new as almost a decade ago, she did a project that engaged with the idea of lists and making connections through them. Interestingly, her grandmother’s notebooks have entries that date back to 1973, offering an insight into the socio-economic minutiae of a developing nation.  

The residency began in April and Sukanya is exploring various creative lenses to create a conversation between these scribbles and photographic images. She is visiting second-hand bookstores and flea markets in London and using found and archival material from there; capturing images of monuments and places of travel to initiate conversations through the written word and the image to find a meeting point that centres on the question of longing and belonging. Presently, she is in the exploratory process of identifying processes and materials that will eventually culminate into a project before the residency ends on July 8. 

“It is an amazing experience. I am loving it here. It’s great to be back in a college again and be in an environment that provides access to extensive facilities across three campuses, including the various workshops and the library that gives ample support to creative explorations. The CAP (Contemporary Art Practice) studio where I am embedded for two months offers a space where I am surrounded by students with varied art practices, methods and materials. This interdisciplinary approach creates an interesting synergy that sparks ideas, connections and directions,” says Sukanya Ghosh.

This residency also aims to bridge the artistic landscapes between India and the UK, creating an environment that fosters growth, collaboration, and a deeper understanding of contemporary art from both cultures. The culmination of the residency will manifest in an exhibition or talk in London, followed by a showcase of Sukanya’s work at the Serendipity Arts Festival 2024 in Goa from December 15-22.

About Serendipity Arts

Serendipity Arts is an arts and cultural development foundation created to encourage and support the arts as a significant contributor to civil society. It aims to promote new creative strategies, artistic interventions, and cultural partnerships that are responsive and seek to address the social, cultural, and environmental milieu of South Asia. Committed to innovation, SA intends to promote and create platforms for creativity, providing the wider public with a unique source of contemporary art and culture. SAF’s programmes are designed and initiated through collaborations with partners across a multitude of fields and each intervention uses the arts to impact education, create social initiatives, foster community development and explore multidisciplinary forays in the arts, with a special focus on South Asia. 

About Serendipity Arts Festival

The Foundation’s primary initiative and largest project, Serendipity Arts Festival is a multi-disciplinary arts event held annually every December in Goa. Curated by a panel of eminent artists and institutional figures, the Festival is a long-term cultural project that hopes to instigate positive change across the arts in India on a large scale. Spanning the visual, performing and culinary arts, the Festival’s programming includes music, dance, visual arts, craft, photography, film, and theatre. The Festival addresses pressing social issues such as arts education and pedagogy, cultural patronage, interdisciplinary discourse, and access to the arts. Serendipity Arts Festival’s intensive programme of exhibitions and performances is energised by spaces for social and educational Engagement. It will be the ninth edition of the festival, of which two were digitally hosted in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The 2024 edition is in Panjim, Goa from December 15-22.

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