Announcing Chennai Photo Biennale 3rd Edition

Curatorial Team: The four members of the curatorial team for CPB 2020 are as follows: Arko Datto (Kolkata, India), Boaz Levin (Berlin, Germany), Bhooma Padmanabhan (Chennai, India) and Kerstin Meincke (Essen, Germany).

CPB2020 looks forward to strengthening cross-cultural dialogue and has chosen a four-member curatorial team in line with the same. This young and dynamic team will work collaboratively to bring together their independent professional experiences as well as areas of interest in photographic practice to curate the next edition.

CPB 3rd Edition dates: 9th Dec 2020 - 6th Feb 2021

CPB2020 will extend to 60 days, aligning with the city and region’s calendar. CPB aims to position Chennai as a contemporary art destination by aligning the biennale with other prominent festivals happening around the same period and attract significant audiences who criss-cross the city to attend the established music and dance season that has won Chennai the UNESCO Creative-City tag.

The first gathering of the team is from 20 - 28 November 2019 where we are visiting potential venues and discussing.

Update: Chennai Photo Biennale Edition 3 postponed to Dec 2021

While 2020 began with great hope, and we were working hard with our curatorial team to shape the plans for CPB3, all our plans came to a grinding halt with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a challenging year, and we are still in the midst of dealing with the pandemic. As most of you know, the Biennale is a festival held in public and historical spaces and galleries across the city of Chennai for visitors to enjoy and appreciate myriad forms of photography with peers, family, and friends. CPB2019 had over 50,000 engaged visitors for the second edition. 

Given the unpredictability of the situation, where policies around travel and gatherings are not yet laid out, and taking cognisance of public health standards, the third edition of CPB originally slated for December 9, 2020 - February 6, 2021 will be postponed to open in December 2021.

The founding organisations - CPB Foundation and Goethe Institut Chennai have been working along with the curatorial team to realign strategies in keeping with the new dates for the Biennale, and will continue to build the theme and plans for the edition 3 with greater awareness to the global shifts affecting us all. The theme and the first list of artists for CPB3 will be announced on December 9, 2020, via a virtual event. All further details with regards to the same will be unveiled in due course. 

About the Curators

Arko Datto

Kolkata, India

Arko Datto aims to use photography to question what it means to be a photographer in the digital age while simultaneously playing the role of observer and commentator on critical issues. He pursues narratives on seemingly disparate topics - forced migration, techno-fascism, surveillance in the digital panopticon, disappearing islands, nocturnal realms and psychosomatic stress of captive animals to name a few. Although every narrative he explores is separate and different from the next, together they form threads of inquiry into the existential dilemmas of our times.
By incorporating and developing diverse visual languages, narratives and styles, he wants to push the boundaries of both still and moving images. He was on his way to a doctorate in theoretical sciences before he decided to change course. Apart from working on his visual projects, he also enjoys curating the works of others and has been associated with Kochi Biennale, Obscura Photography Festival and Chennai Photo Biennale in this regard. He is currently represented by East Wing Gallery.

Bhooma Padmanabhan

Chennai, India

Bhooma Padmanabhan is a curator, researcher and arts programme manager. She completed her BA in Fine Arts from Stella Maris College, Chennai, and MFA in Art History, from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University of Baroda. She worked with the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, from 2007 to 2017. She currently lives and works in Chennai.
She has curated several exhibitions featuring emerging talents, and actively worked with artists to create platforms for public art, art education and resource sharing. Important curations include FICA Homepage 2014 and 2016 editions; ID/entity, 2010 (co-curated with Vidya Shivadas and Julia Villasenor), and Urgent: 10ml of Contemporary Needed, 2008. She was part of the curatorial team that brought the seminal exhibition Our Beautiful Daughters by Yoko Ono to India, 2012. Her curatorial work with photography and lens-based art are A Million Mutinies Later: India at 70, 2017 (co-curated with Anshika Varma and Iona Ferguson under mentorship of Prashant Panjiar, for Nazar Foundation); Invisible Cities, 2014; and Apna Ghar, 2012 (co-curated with Vidya Shivadas). Bhooma was part of the Kochi Biennale’s Students Biennale 2018 Education team that worked towards identifying existing frameworks of learning, and imagining new directions in pedagogical practices in art colleges in India.
Instagram: @bhooma.p

Boaz Levin

Berlin, Germany

Boaz Levin (French b. 1989, Jerusalem) is an artist, writer, and curator. Together with Hito Steyerl and Vera Tollmann, he co-founded the Research Center for Proxy Politics. Levin has presented his work internationally, most recently at the CCA, Tel Aviv; Human Resources, Los Angeles; and Fidmarseille, Marseille. Last Person Shooter, directed together with Adam Kaplan, was awarded the Ostrovsky Family Fund Award (2015).
Regarding Spectatorship, a curatorial research project with Marianna Liosi, was shown at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, in 2015–16. Since October 2016, Levin has been a PhD candidate as part of the Cultures of Critique research training group at Leuphana University, Lueneburg. In 2017, Levin co-curated the Biennale fu?r aktuelle Fotografie,
Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg. Recent publications include: Proxy Politics: Power and Subversion in a Networked Age, co-edited with Vera Tollmann, Archive Books, 2017; Alles, Tobias Zielony, Etude Books, 2019; Rules for Extractor, (exhibition catalogue for MINE, Simon Denny), co-edited with Sian Scott Clash, MONA 2019.
Website: | Instagram: @boazmlevin

Kerstin Meincke

Essen, Germany

Kerstin Meincke is a curator, researcher and lecturer focusing on photography and media arts in transcultural contexts. She teaches at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, where she is a member of the DFG research project “The Anachronic and the Present: Aesthetic perception and artistic concepts of temporality in the Black Atlantic” (since 2016). She is collaborating in the DFG network “Entangled Histories of Art and Migration: Forms, Visibilities, Agents” (since 2018) and has been part of the Research Group “Art Production and Art Theory in the Age of Global Migration” since 2014. Her curatorial projects include: “Global Players” (Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Ludwigshafen, 2017) and “Voyage Retour” in Lagos, Nigeria (conceived for Museum Folkwang, Essen, 2013). Furthermore, she curated the Wüstenrot Foundation’s Awards for Documentary Photography and was a curatorial assistant for the German Pavilion in Venice (both 2015). 

Recent publications: “A Side Note on Europe: Germaine Krull’s Chandigarh Portfolio (1972)” (Photo Researcher No. 31/2019, pp. 227-37), “Currency Affairs. Photography and Productivity” (Art History and Fetishism Abroad. Global Shiftings in Media and Methods, ed. Gabriele Genge / Angela Stercken, Bielefeld: transcript 2014, pp. 93-112), “Global Players. How can we reflect the entanglement of photography, economy, and migration?“ (exh. Cat. Farewell Photography. Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie (ed. Florian Ebner, Christin Müller, Cologne: König, 2017, pp. 208-29), and “Connecting to what? Otobong Nkanga’s alternative mapping at Museum Folkwang” (artist publication Tracing Confessions. Otobong Nkanga, ed. Museum Folkwang, Essen, 2016).

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