Ceramics, especially terracotta, have been a part of India’s artistic canvas since as far back as the Indus Valley Civilisation. Now, with the Indian contemporary art scene taking a renewed sense of interest in the art, clay is taking a centre stage—an ideal time for the appreciation of the art form to come into the limelight in the form of the Indian Ceramics Triennale: Breaking Ground, the country’s first international ceramics event.
The festival, to be hosted in Jaipur’s multiple art centre Jawahar Kala Kendra between August 31 and November 18, in collaboration with the Contemporary Clay Foundation will see the participation of 47 Indian and international artists. The 35 Indian artists, selected through a nationwide open call, and 12 others invited from around the world will showcase alternative, experimental and experiential ceramic art, both within and beyond the boundaries of the traditional gallery.
Kicking off the festival will be installations by renowned ceramist, P.R. Daroz, and Pondicherry-based Ray Meeker, co-founder of Golden Bridge Pottery institute, as well as the launch of Meeker’s book Building with Fire. The international line-up includes Japanese artist Hoshino Saturo, and Ester Beck from Israel who will exhibit a performance-based work; U.K.-based Jane Perryman, whose project involves the collaboration of ceramics and sound; and president of the UNESCO affiliated International Academy of Ceramics Jacques Kaufmann, whose architecturally scaled exhibit will be fired and insulated live.
The extensive list of offerings at the 80-day festival will also include private workshops for underprivileged children from local schools, and open-to-all masterclasses led by industry stalwarts. There will also be film screenings focused on ceramic art based cinemas: Rajula Shah’s Katha Loknath, which narrates the story of creation; Chinese ceramist Tan Hongyu’s Shifu, which captures the humility of the shifus (masters) who maintain the vitality of traditional techniques in Shiwan, Southern China; and Rolling Clay with Keith and Clap Along with Keith, spoofs of popular songs by U.K.-based ceramist-designer Keith Brymer Jones, known for his marketing videos. For some time to wind down and explore your inner artist, there’s Clayground, a designated space for free play with clay, open to visitors on weekends.
Festival: indianceramicstriennale.com; 11 a.m.-7 p.m., closed on Monday and public holidays; no entry fee.
Masterclass: Three batches of 20, 8 and 15 on Sep 4, Oct 15-18 and Nov 17 respectively; registration Rs1,500-3,500
Pooja Naik is Senior Sub-Editor at National Geographic Traveller India. She likes to take long leisurely walks with both hands in her pocket; channeling her inner Gil Pender at Marine Drive since Paris is a continent away.