Alka Pande


Alka Pande is responsible for curating several significant and perceptive exhibitions in India and abroad, and giving a name to some of the most upcoming and influential artists, photographers and sculptors. Alka Pande is currently engrossed as the Consultant Arts Advisor and Curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. A recipient of the Chevaliers dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Letters – Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters – from the French Government, Alka has authored several books on art and art history. Prominent ones are Ardhnarishvara, the Androgyne: Probing the Gender Within, Masterpieces of Indian Art, Indian Erotica, From Mustard Field to Disco Lights, and Mukhwas: Indian Food through the Ages.

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What was your motivation behind getting into the field of art?

It is my friends Robin Gupta and Balbir Kaur who I have known for a long time- they stand to be my primary motivation. Balbir Kaur is a creative person and I thought that it would be a good idea to have an interaction with somebody who I have known for quite sometime. That is when my journey into the field of art instituted.

Why do you think our love for art is restricted only to places like exhibitions or these Art festivals and not beyond. What is your take on that?

I think that depends on everybody as anybody can become an artist if one lets his or her artistic freedom take over. Anybody who has a developed sense of aesthetics is qualified to become an artist and there is no doubt that conceptual art stems only from a literary genre.

What relation do you think literature and art have with each other?

There is a kind of a symbiotic relation between the two as Literature and Art work hand in hand from time immemorial. The most significant example of their synergy is the men of early ages who began with drawing on walls and gradually learnt to write over time. Artists have always been inspired by literature which essentially fuels up their imagination and the spoken visuals. They inspire each other which is why we see that writers love art and artists love Literature. There is, hence, an organic relationship between the two.

What is your comment on the concept of Art Education in our country?

The Art education in our country urgently needs to be revamped with the incorporation of Indian aesthetics in our art syllabi. Here an important observation is that when the British set up the school in their colonial rule, they did so to create a realistic academic art which we still have not been able to come out of. Moreover, many artists claim that their art speaks for itself but the fact is that the articulation of art comes through words. It is high time that we include Literature in the art education of our country as it is important for our art students to be made conversant with our ethics, poetry and our classical text.

How far do you think can these Art festivals help promote Art? What are you expecting from the Valley of Words in that sense?

It really depends on what one’s inclination is. If we look into the education of the bygone days we will notice how holistic it was for a writer was also a poet as well as an artist and a sculptor. Something like what Rabindra Nath Tagore exercised in Shantiketan. I, thus, hope for a more holistic approach to art education. Tapering my expectations to just the Valley of Words, I would say that I am looking forward to being exposed to a new way of looking and being a part of production of new knowledge.

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