Please tell us about yourself
Art curatorial studies are a lesser known aspect of art education, which have been gaining momentum in the last few years. With fine art in India breaking fresh ground in terms of outreach and maturity, guiding an informed art exhibition rather than merely putting together a show is a field that needs serious looking- into.
Art curator Veerangana Solanki, 28, a Master in History of Art pursued the first Gwanju Biennale International Curator course and has been curating shows for many art galleries and organizations in the city of Mumbai.
What did you study?
Veerangana Solanki is a seasoned curator in the Indian art world. A graduate in English Literature with post-graduate diplomas in Indian Aesthetics and Art Criticism and Theory, Veerangana has made a name for herself as a promising young curator, who is known to present impressive contemporary art exhibitions. She is the recipient of the first IllySustainArt Curator’s prize (2011) and the 1st Annual ALICE (Artistic Landmark in Contemporary Experience) Public’s Voice Award 2012 for best Emerging Curator.
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How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?
I began by first researching under the guidance of Dr. Saryu Doshi and Mrs. Pheroza Godrej, after which I worked on the curatorial team at Bodhi Art Gallery in Mumbai. Having worked with artists and exhibition display, I could combine research, writing and curating and thereby pursue this further.
When did you decide you wanted to work in the art world? What was your first job as such?
I’d pretty much decided at the beginning of college (2003) that I wanted to work with art and literature in some way. In 2006-07, while studying Indian Aesthetics at Mumbai University, it was also the time of my first job as a researcher on Modern Indian Art, under art historians Dr. Saryu Doshi and Mrs. Pheroza Godrej.
Did you enjoy it?
Yes! And it definitely helped me build a base while researching and studying simultaneously.
When did you get into the curatorial end of things, and what has your experience with it been?
Curatorial aspects were discussed while I was researching too, however, formally it was in 2008 when I joined Bodhi Art on their curatorial team. Since then, I’ve always worked more on curatorial aspects of exhibitions.
After 7 years in the field, what is that one thing you wish you could have learnt as a student, which should have been part of your syllabus?
It is a constant learning process; at every stage, there’s always something learnt that one wishes they’d known earlier.
Two do’s that you could share with a student aspiring to pursue art curatorship?
- Research, write, and know
- Keen attention to the artist’s works and to the audience’ response as a curator
What advice would you have for people like you who would like to be curators?
There’s never enough research about anything! The more one explores, the more there is to know, and it’s really only by seeing more and reading a lot more that things advance. Everything is constantly progressing (including histories), and there’s no such thing as perfect curating, there’s always something to learn from and improve upon, and one often realizes that the next time, but only with constructive criticism and open introspection.