Cover Stories

Editorial

The first upload of TAP brings on the table the diversity of public art practices that are shaping discourse in South Asia. Editorially, the focus has been to reimagine the standard idea of objective reporting and to play between long and shot forms of journalism. The TAP team believes that it is the right time to bring together institutional and individual public art practices, and through that imagine and build future networks.

From the location of ‘Public Art’ practices, the relationship between ‘public’ and ‘private’ is one of hierarchical binaries. ‘Public Art’ is acted out in the realm of the public, any engagement in/with it necessarily extends to a series of overlapping issues ranging from the diversity of public and cultures, the engendering of such spaces, the operations of power, including assertions of culture and political hierarchies. It is only through such engagements can public art transcend being an authoritarian populist agenda and evolve as a site of struggle over the meaning of ‘free space’.

Art is travelling a long journey in order to transverse terrains of the public and the private. In our times ‘Public Art’ has emerged as a project oriented towards making ‘art’ (re)claimable to the public sphere. Definitely ‘Public Art’ is also a project for the artist to be able to (re)claim the public sphere, a sphere that was denied to her during the heydays of the bourgeois orthodoxy.

As one begins to critically engage with this sudden flux taking place in the fiber of the regions artistic practice, it became clear that as critics, curators and art lovers, we (as yet) don’t know the language and the strategies with we can engage with public art. ‘Public art ‘ is still understood in terms of ‘high art’ and hence dichotomies like artist vs. citizen still exist. However, one thing is clear, the most effective of public art practitioners are those who have learned to forget the anxiety of art and non-art, and yet retain deep aesthetic sensibilities in their public interventions.

Wishing to open future directions.

Rahul Bhattacharya
(Ex Editor)

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There is a connection, hard to explain logically but easy to feel, between achievement in public life and progress in the arts.

John F. Kennedy