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Announcement
October 23, 2020

Crisis and Creativity: Virtual Artists in Residence at The South Asia Art Initiative

University of California, Berkeley

Left: Mithu Sen. Courtesy of the artist. Right: Brendan Fernandes. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery. Photo: Kevin Penczak.

The South Asia Art Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley is delighted to launch Crisis and Creativity: Virtual Artist in Residence at UC Berkeley South Asia Art Initiative with artists Mithu Sen (New Delhi) and Brendan Fernandes (Chicago).

Artists’ residencies and their affiliative senses of travel and mobility with which we are by now all too familiar is all but nada in the time of a global pandemic. Yet, the word residency is inundated with the sensibilities of being in place, of domicile, and of dwelling. Recapturing these senses, Crisis and Creativity: Virtual Artist in Residence at UC Berkeley South Asia Art Initiative has invited artists Mithu Sen (New Delhi) and Brendan Fernandes (Chicago) to experiment with new forms of making, translate embodied creative processes into a digital realm, and craft new modes of audience engagement across dispersed latitudes and time zones.

The 72-hour residency will be live streamed for the entire duration on the SAAI Artist Residency website. The virtual residency is curated by UC Berkeley faculty Allan deSouza, Atreyee Gupta, Asma Kazmi, and Sugata Ray.

Brendan Fernandes (b. 1979, Nairobi, Kenya) is an internationally recognized Canadian artist working at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Currently based out of Chicago, Brendan’s projects address issues of race, queer culture, migration, protest and other forms of collective movement. Always seeking to create new spaces and new forms of agency, and always rooted in collaboration and fostering solidarity.

Fernandes is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program (2007) and a recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Fellowship (2014). In 2010, he was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award. His projects have been shown at the 2019 Whitney Biennial, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Getty Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, and Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal, among other venues. Fernandes is also the recipient of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2020), the Artadia Award (2019), a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant (2019), and a Canada Council New Chapters grant (2017). Fernandes is currently artist-in-residency and faculty at Northwestern University and represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago.

Mithu Sen (b. 1971, India) works in a variety of media to explore and subvert hierarchical codes and rules, with particular reference to sexuality, language, the value of art and objects, and experiences of marginalization. Her practice incorporates painting, poetry, social media, instructional exchanges and performance to demonstrate how language and social conventions can restrict our capacity of expression.

Sen completed her BFA (1995) and MFA (1997) from Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, India and a postgraduate program (visiting) from the Glasgow School of Art (2000–01). She has exhibited and performed at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Tate Modern, Queens Museum, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, Palais De Tokyo, Art Unlimited: Basel, Kochi Muziris Biennale, Meditations Biennale, Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, and Dhaka Art Summit, among other venues. Sen was the first Indian artist to receive the Skoda Award for Best Indian Contemporary Art in 2010, succeeded by the Prudential Eye Award for Contemporary Asian Art in Drawing in 2015, and, most recently, Performance Artist of the Year by India Today in 2020. Sen lives and works in New Delhi, India.

The South Asia Art Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley promotes research-based conversations and collaborations around the arts of South Asia + its diasporas from the ancient period to the now.

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