The winners of the third edition of Student’s Biennale were announced at the closing ceremony of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018.
Mr. Umesh Singh (one of three recipients), a current student in the Department of Fine Arts at the S N School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad was selected for the 100-days Students’ Biennale 2018 exhibition in Kochi, Kerala, has got honoured by an award ‘Tata Trust Students’ Biennale International Award’ for his excellent work “Uncomfortable Tools and Jaab”.
The award jury comprised KBF president Bose Krishnamachari, Tata Trusts Head (Arts and Culture) Deepika Sorabjee and artist-filmmaker KM Madhusudhana.
Mr. Umesh Singh hails from Bihar that abandoned its familial tradition and occupation of agriculture. This four-part artistic installation draws from remnants of his memories.
Farmers often tie to the faces of oxen, a muzzle or a ‘jaab’ to prevent them from grazing on the grass while working on the field. Umesh photographs people of the farming community wearing muzzles on their faces, to symbolize their subjugation – their relentless toiling, silent suffering and the general shortage of food.
Replacing the handles on the tools of farmers, who have abandoned their profession, with diseased wood, he creates ‘uncomfortable tools’ – symbols of the difficulties of practising. Reminded of a time, when farmers would trade off their crops for guns, he crafts cereal pulses into weapon-like patterns.
Finally, he sows seeds over broken pieces of his mother, Nirmala Devi’s old rice container, in feeble hope that his family will reclaim their tradition of farming, someday.
This time, the project was led by a team of six curators around the theme of ‘Making as Thinking’. More than 100 artworks were produced by over 250 students selected via an open call from across 50 art colleges and institutes in India. In an attempt to reach out to a larger pool of emerging artists, the Students’ Biennale 2018, for the first time, also showcased works by students from SAARC nations. As many as 27 participants from Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka displayed 10 projects in total.