About us

Clark House Initiative Bombay is a curatorial collaborative concerned with ideas of freedom

Founded in 2010, a union of artists based in Bombay

Clark House Initiative is a curatorial collaborative and a union of artists based in Bombay, established in 2010 by Zasha Colah and Sumesh Sharma concerned with ideas of freedom. Strategies of equality have informed their work, while experiments in re-reading of histories, and concerns of representation and visibility, are ways to imagine alternative economies and freedom. Clark House Initiative intends to actively recall political and artistic figures into contemporaneity and to question the recent rise of fascism in India based on exaggerated rumours of economic prosperity and nationalist pride.

Membership arises from basic tenets of humanism - Friendship, Anti-Racism, Sexual Freedom, Anti-Homophobia, Anti-Islamophobia, Feminism, Secularism and understanding the project of Modernism as an economic and political reality outside the occident. 17 artists run the union that gathers many more and are based across many seas. Nikhil Raunak + Sachin Bonde, Rupali Patil + Prabhakar Pachpute, Amol Patil + Poonam Jain & Yogesh Barve, who together became the artist collective Shunya in 2011, were the founding artists and are the permanent members of the Clark House.

We founded it in 2010 out of a deep anxiety about the cultural space that then seemed available in the city for contemporaryexpression. Clark House was created out of a conviction that there was a need to explore exhibition language – something we felt starved of in the city. Something we are still often starved of. The language of curation was our response to the language of the market. Was our response to our love of architecture. Was our refuge from the language of private property, copyright, spectacle and the immobility of the museum, where the rules of presentation of twentieth-century Indian art appeared to us to dangerously coincide with the categories defined by auction houses. Within the language of curating we felt truly, radically free. Curatorially, all objects were equally precious or imprecious – it depended on how we strung them together, and why, and not seniorities, geographies,market values, canons, genders. So unlikely works found space beside each other and beside other objects: files, ship models, bronze horses, free press certificates. Suddenly we could build sentences, could stratify meaning. Of course, we were individually struggling to do these things in spaces before Clark House, but they were rarely understood, or tolerated. But within Clark House, it was a means of writing out a missing art history.

Curating was a language that could be political – in those days we were so disturbed by the failure of obvious political positions: 2010 was not 2014 [when this interview took place]. We were different, and the Bombay around us was different. We wanted a more thoughtful, layered politics that could hold a complicated argument. Curating was a way of finding how to feel present within a city that was losing its cultural relevance, and where the best artists were too often forced to exhibit elsewhere. Clark House came about because we decided we could not wait for institutions or means. We were down and out but we did not seem to notice all that much. Our first exhibitions were essays of thoughts. And so as one went from one room to another – hopefully, one entered a bafflement, a propositional space, a philosophical register, alongside the political. Our exhibitions were not about spectacle, they could be fiercely dull in that respect, with much accompanying writing: printed captions, or handwriting on Post-it notes, annotations on walls, annotations of a work with another work. We tried to always place a component of the exhibitions on the street outside Clark House. We were perhaps searching for something – a sense of a radical community, I suppose.

Zasha Colah

Co-founder of Clark House Initiative,

The NEW Curator, 2014

Directors

2010 - 2011

  • Nida Ghouse
  • Sumesh Sharma
  • Zasha Colah
  • Zubin Pastakia

2011 - 2014

  • Sumesh Sharma
  • Zasha Colah

2015 - 2016

  • Poonam Jain
  • Rupali Patil

2016 - 2017

  • Yogesh Barve

2017 - 2018

  • Amol Patil
  • Yogesh Barve

2018 - current

  • Bayan Kadirzhanova
  • Kanika Makhija
  • Saviya Lopes

Patrons & Sponsors

Since its beginning, Clark House has been artist-funded, sustained through a community of like-minded art practitioners: Abdul Aziz Raiba, Atul Dodiya, Aung Myint, Justin Ponmany, Krishna Reddy, Manish Nai, Manisha Parikh, Najib Raiba, Nalini Malani, Pisurwo Jitendra Suralkar, Prabhakar Pachpute, Prajakta Potnis, Sharmila Samant, Tushar Joag, and all the members of Clark House. We have also collaborated with institutions like Sir JJ School of Art and Mohile Parikh Center for the Visual Arts.

Clark House Residencies and Projects are funded by Foundation For Art Initiatives and Aruna & Chaturbhuj Sharma.

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Contact us

c/o RBT Group, Ground Floor, Clark House building, 8 Nathalal Parekh Marg, Old Wodehouse Road, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Working Hours

Open all days excluding Mondays
from 11 am - 7 pm during exhibitions

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Clark House Initiative Bombay is a curatorial collaborative concerned with ideas of freedom.

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