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Rhode Island School of Design Welcomes Chitra Ganesh, the School’s First Kirloskar Visiting Scholar in Painting

03/05/2014

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is pleased to announce that Brooklyn-based artist Chitra Ganesh will spend two days at RISD this spring as the first Vikram and Geetanjali Kirloskar Visiting Scholar in Painting. Ganesh will visit  the Providence campus in April to participate in a review for Painting graduate students and to give a public talk on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 4PM in RISD’s Metcalf Auditorium  in the Chace Center [20 N. Main Street, Providence]. She will return to teach a Painting seminar during the fall 2014 semester and will mount a show in RISD’s Memorial Hall Gallery.

Ganesh’s drawing, installation, text-based work, and collaborations seek to excavate and circulate buried narratives typically excluded from official canons of history, literature, and art.

The Kirloskar Visiting Scholar in Painting is the result of a $1 million gift to RISD – the single largest gift ever from an international donor – to establish an endowed fund to support visiting artists and scholars in the Painting department. The endowment highlights RISD’s growing emphasis on global engagement and positions the Painting department to further that commitment by attracting visiting artists and scholars from India or the US who have a strong connection to Indian culture.

In Spring 2015, the New Delhi, India-based collective Raqs Media Collective will be in residence for one month as the second Kirloskar Visiting Scholars.

“We're very pleased that the Kirloskars created this opportunity to recognize teaching excellence at RISD,” notes RISD Interim President Rosanne Somerson [76 ID]. “Professor Dennis Congdon [75 PT] had a profound impact on the artistic development of their daughter. This endowment is an expression of their gratitude, and supports a growing emphasis on global learning and cross-cultural opportunities at RISD. We look forward to welcoming our first scholar this spring and thank the Kirloskar Advisory Group for their thoughtful work in selecting our first two visitors.”

The RISD Kirloskar Advisory Group serves to talk about what it means for RISD to provide such an esteemed program, as well as to advise on the selection of the program’s visiting artists and scholars. The group is comprised of six individuals, including Shahzia Sikander [MFA 95 PT/PR], Hammad Naser from the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong, Assistant Professor of Literary Arts and Studies Avishek Ganguly, and Mumbai-based alum, Anuradha Parikh [83 AR], among others.

As the Kirloskars were celebrating their daughter's graduation from RISD in 2012, they realized they were very moved by her four-year experience at one of the world's top art schools. “We were happy with Manasi's progress at RISD for many reasons,” notes Vikram Kirloskar, “but to our mind the most important thing she learned was to think openly and creatively. It was an attribute she already had, but RISD helped add a certain amount of process discipline and work management, which were valuable additions. The constant critiques and an intense demand for high quality work have taught her to look closely at details.”

Given the distance between their home in Bangalore and RISD’s campus in Providence, the Kirloskars were also heartened that their daughter spoke so favorably about the deep care, support and extraordinary encouragement she received from her teachers every step of the way. Their gift to the Painting department will ensure that future generations of students benefit from experiences at RISD as rewarding as Manasi's, while also offering students from the US and abroad meaningful exposure to Indian art and culture

“Visiting artists, designers and scholars have long played a vital role in contributing to the vibrant educational exchange on campus, but the Kirloskar gift marks the first time in RISD’s history that the college is able to establish an endowed fund dedicated to supporting a visiting scholar,” said RISD Director of Global Partners & Programs Gwen Farrelly. “This will not only serve its expanding international student population well, but will reinforce RISD’s long-time commitment to educating global citizens from every culture and background.”

“With the support of the Kirloskars, the RISD community just got much bigger,” notes Professor Dennis Congdon 75 PT. “The Painting department is so very grateful for their generosity because it gives us an opportunity to bring together artists who began their individual and collective search for voice continents apart. This will add new dimension to the studio experience at RISD.”

About Chitra Ganesh

Chitra Ganesh was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, where she currently lives and works. Buried narratives and marginal figures typically excluded from official canons of history, literature, and art inspire her drawing, installation, text-based work, and collaborations. Ganesh draws from a broad range of material, including the iconography of Hindu, Greek and Buddhist mythology, 19th century European portraiture and fairytales, song lyrics, as well as contemporary visual culture such as Bollywood posters, anime, and comic books. The process of automatic writing is central to her practice process of deconstructing mythological narratives  via layering disparate materials and visual languages. In this process, Ganesh considers alternate narratives of sexuality and power in a world where untold stories keep rising to the surface. In this process the body becomes a site of transgression, both social and psychic, doubled, dismembered and continually exceeding its limits. Ganesh is a recipient of the 2013 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation award in the Creative Arts.

About Rhode Island School of Design

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has earned an international reputation as the leading college of art and design in the United States. Recently ranked #1 in Business Insider’s survey of The World’s 25 Best Design Schools, approximately 2,400 students from around the world study at RISD, pursuing full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a choice of 19 studio majors. RISD is known for its phenomenal faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on, studio-based approach to learning – one in which critical thinking informs making works by hand. Required courses in the liberal arts provide an essential complement to studio work, enabling graduates to become critical and informed individuals eager to engage with the world. Through the accomplishments of its 26,000 alumni, the college champions the vital role artists and designers play in satisfying the global demand for innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum of Art help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit www.risd.edu or our.risd.edu.

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RISD has a long history of offering Saturday and after-school classes for children and teens, as this photo from c. 1910 confirms.