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Curators' Hub

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Priyanka & Prateek Raja:

The sixth edition of Curators' Hub is taking place at the Experimenter Gallery space in Gariahat, kolkata. Like the previous editions, this year's hub will include presentations and panel discussions—the space where curators convene. The participating curators for the 2016 curators' Hub are Hand-Ulrich obrist, naman Ahuja, Rahaab Allana, giorgio Galleani, Maud Page, Ariana Pradal, Marta Smolinska and Natasha Ginwala. here we share our conversation with the powerful duo behind Experimenter.

What was your impetus for starting these dialogues in Kolkata? 
Kolkata is an extremely culturally engaged city with the audience having the ability to cross-reference between disciplines and practices quite fluently. The decision of hosting the Experimenter Curators’ Hub in Kolkata was a natural choice in that sense. Also of course it is the city in which both of us grew up, and have a certain sense of understanding its historical role in shaping cultural aspects in the region and its current relevance in the visual arts amongst other forms of artistic practice. It was important to put this into perspective when we thought of the curators’ hub six years ago. 
The other impetus to start Experimenter Curator’s Hub began with a simple recognition and realization that the art infrastructure is and continues to remain abysmal in our country. In the absence of the same, it is crucial that private organizations, in whatever their capacities allow fill that void in the interim, in the larger interest of the social and cultural fabric of the scene and the region. We are very happy to take this lead and are hugely indebted to all the partners who enable this to happen. We started with a simple idea, a basic need to discuss curatorial practice in India and the rest of the word and to bring that discussion to Kolkata and into the gallery. 

When you started the Hub, did you expect it to get as much traction as it has? How has the local art community responded? 
When we started the hub, we did not have any pre-determined expectations out of it, only feeling the urgency to have these discussions and conversations. An amazing range of exhibitions and curatorial interventions are being mounted all over the world and in India and there was no forum to take a step back, add a pause or a punctuation to revisit those curatorial decisions, think about those astonishingly thought out exhibitions and we felt the urgency to create a platform to share these practices from around the world. 
It was also for our city, which needs a fresh view into contemporary art and that remains one of the hub’s key goals. The curators’ hub provides an unparalleled opportunity to interact, converse and even debate with the invited curators, without any hierarchical and other structures that restrict access. The local artist or an art college student, people from the art viewing community in the city [and that's the most empowering aspect of the hub] can sit beside a curator of some of the most ambitious and important exhibitions in the world and have a real conversation with the person, ask about his/her reasoning behind decisions and conceptual or other curatorial practice related questions with free access and without hesitation. 

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