Reshaping Art: TM Krishna in conversation with Sidharth Bhatia

TM Krishna and Sidharth Bhatia

Sidharth Bhatia and TM Krishna

On 02 June 2018, Asia Society India Centre hosted T M Krishna, Karnatic vocalist and writer, and Founder Editor of theWire.in, Sidharth Bhatia in a conversation based on Krishna's latest book, Reshaping Art.
 
Focused on the relationship between India's arts and society, the book challenges the existence of so-called "citadels" of purity and tradition that deem the classical arts undemocratic and exclusionary. Krishna presents the opinion that homogeneity in the arts, created by caste and religion, must be diversified. By questioning the content produced by restrictive subgroups and then deconstructing and challenging the subgroups as they exist, Krishna makes a call to churn the status quo. While identity is strongly linked to caste based social order, Krishna made the audience aware that the role of identity distorts as one goes down the social order. For that reason, individuals must "see themselves and recognize the issues," in order to see each other, enable a conversation, and thereby influence the current texture of how the arts exist. When posed the question if Krishna risks "over-sentimentalizing the subaltern" by Bhatia, Krishna acknowledged the risk but voiced that sentimentalization happens when one does not problematize current dynamics and hierarchies. Art is to disturb, he said. Krishna proposed that reshaping art is reshaping community. Through curation, participation, and volunteerism, he is confident in the next generation's awareness of the patriarchal, man-made constructions and systems of control within the arts. The programme closed with a special recital by Krishna.   
 
The programme was organized in collaboration with First Edition Arts and G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture.
 
As reported by Lekha Jandhyala, Programme Assistant, Asia Society India Centre