Pune Biennale Festival 2017

Not just a garden

Pune boasts of over 20 parks. Have you been to one of the most prominent landm(p)arks in the city - the Empress Garden? Regular visitors are already acquainted with the buzz and social vibe of its sprawling premises. Whether you seek simple recreation or a tranquil moment with yourself; a chat with your friends or snack to eat! Empress Garden offers it all.

For all visitors, old and new, Pune Biennale 2017 offers a novel opportunity to experience this bustling public garden with a tinge of art! The Empress Garden, or the working lungs of Pune, will now host a series of artworks and installations during the Biennale. From 5th to 29th January, 2016, we wish to transform this treasure-house by adding another layer of cultural space, to appreciate the Empress Gardens also as an artspace.

In such a unique socio-artistic context, participants are invited to create artworks in response to the theme "IDENTITY & SELF". In this curated exhibition, we seek artworks that will explore such a reflective theme and also respond to the uniqueness of the landscape that is Empress Garden. Participants are free to select any form of expression as long as it can be sustained in an outdoor environment for the entire duration of the Biennale. Thus, this project will offer a space, mental and physical, for introspection as well as art appreciation to visitors, artists and participants alike.




Aboli Kadam

Jitendra Thorat

Mansi Jadhav

Minou Tsambika Polleros

Mugdha Martin

Mukul Singh

Pooza Kataria

Ruve Narang

Saloni Soni

Sanjay Tikkal

Saurabh Sheth

Project Director

Popat Mane


Nachiket Prakash


The Empress Botanical Garden is amongst the most historic and botanically important gardens in the Pune region. It was initially a “Soldiers Garden”. The Agri-Horticultural Society of Western India has been managing the Empress Garden since 1892.

Stalwarts like Shri. Jaggannath Shankarsheth, Mr. David Sasoon, Dr. C.D. Deshmukh, noted industrialist Mr. S.L. Kirloskar have been an integral part of this Society.

Several socially and environmentally important activities are presently being conducted under the able guidance of the current President of the Society, Shri. Rahul Bajaj and the Vice President Shri. Prataprao Pawar.

Also, noted horticultural expert Mr. Suresh Pingale, the Hon. Secretary and the renowned philanthropist Ms. Suman Kirloskar, the Vice President and Mr. Ulhas Shedge, the Hon. Treasurer of the Society have contributed immensely in helping the Empress Garden reach its present splendor.

Mansi Jadhav, a participating artist in Not Just a Garden, is pursuing her Bachelors of Fine Arts from Bharti Vidyapeeth, Pune. She is a performance artist and theatre enthusiast. Her passion to become an Art Director- Production Designer, led her to explore new mediums of art, whether it's painting, doodles, poetry, art installation, art direction or acting.

She is working as a set dresser for TV commercials and has assisted few known production designers. She believes in colouring outside the lines. Human emotions and different forms of nature inspire her.

Minou Tsambika Polleros is a movement artist, choreographer and interdisciplinary art researcher born in Austria. She holds a BA (Hons) degree in Choreography and Visual Arts from Dartington College of Arts in the UK and a Masters degree in Social Sculpture from Oxford Brookes University. Minou works as a dance artist, choreographer, curator and researcher in the South West of England. Minou teaches site-specific choreography as visiting lecturer at University Falmouth and believes that her work with architectural patterns can be crossfertilizing for both movement artists and architects. She has developed her methodologies for the lLving Architecture Laboratory with the architecture department at Oxford Brookes University and hopes to deepen her work via an ongoing doctoral research on visceral empathy and a more embodied activism. Minou’s works want to activate a more socially and ecologically aware citizenship. Her works are strongly linked to current social-ecological issues and form bridges of thought and practice between disciplines. To read more about her work and to connect to some of her projects go to: www.minoutsambika.com

Saloni Soni, a participating artist in Not Just a Garden, Pune Biennale 2017, was born with an affinity for art. Even as a kid she has worked on small installations - mostly out of scrap and waste. She enjoys adventure sports like paragliding, mountaineering, trekking, hiking and canoeing. She is inspired from nature and its beauty in every little thing. Art to her is exploring the self. She has worked in mediums like bamboos, plastic and scrap. She wants people to see a different dimension to life in every aspect and tries to reflect it in her artwork.

Mukul Singh, who will participate in Not Just a Garden, discovered the artist in her when she sought and found comfort in art. Art to her is a way of communication, expression and sublimity. She believes in the saying 'cogito ergo sum', which means I think therefore I am. Her art is inspired by the Indian culture, history and its richness. She also extracts from Mother Nature, and finds solace in it. Her artwork is an outcome of her experiences with nature. She is a painter and has worked in mediums like bamboo, scrap, plastic for a few privileged installations.

Mugdha Martin, a Pune based visual artist will be a part of Not Just A Garden in Pune Biennale 2017. She has a degree in fine arts. She believes that the process of a painting is more blissful than the painting itself. Starting with an empty space, a story arises from it. The magic of creating lines, forms and tones subconsciously is what she enjoys the most.

Her love for abstract comes from her love for nature. She is highly inspired by the natural rawness, roughness, forms and colours. She has not limited her art to any specific medium of expression. They include painting, pen work, site specific art, print making and photography.

Ruve Narang, one of Not Just A Garden artists, a Bachelor of Fine Arts, has created thought provoking artworks with an array of mediums. She plays with the fusion of light and colors; its transparency and light-reflecting qualities. She has conceptualized art forms where change is distinct from fusion and separation. Since the beginning of her painting career, she has pushed her limits on various amalgamated mediums like pen illustrations, graphic design, glass work and projection of film on painted canvas. Travelling, exploring and exposure to different cultures have played a vital role in her art. With artworks conceived of trial and error and an engineering mind, Ruve hopes to reach out to open minds and those living in the closet.

Pooza Kataria is a spatial artist and graduated from University of Pune with Bachelors degree in Architecture in 2013. Her artistic journey began with research on ‘Notions of Meditative Experiences’ during her MA in Interior and Spatial Design at University of Arts London, UK, where pieces like ‘Childhood Wood’ and ‘Blue Elude’ transpired and were very well received. Her installation ‘Found Beyond’ helped her bag the first place under visual arts category at the prestigious Kalaghoda Art Festival 2016.

Her work mainly comprises of colossal installations with the central theme of spatial experience, personal and social narratives. Currently, she is feeding her passion of art and design through her studio, ‘Dhi Atelier,’ which encompasses  her architectural and interior design practice along with her art experiments.

Jitendra Thorat, who will present under Not Just a Garden project in Pune Biennale 2017, received MFA from Dept. of Fine Arts, Pune University. For the last couple of years the artist has been questioning the restriction and morals of the society on the issue of desires and women sexuality. Series of horses and series of provocative female nudes led his canvas, until the forms started getting mixed in the abstraction, rather simplification of colors and strokes.

His works are a response to a present entertainment mode as well as the rape culture in the society. Recently his focus has shifted to mixed media, installation, video-art and scrap materials. The artist is trying to give art a new look through his works, leaving behind traditional methods of using canvas and colours.

Born in 1981, Sanjay Tikkal, who will present his work in Not Just A Garden, graduated in 2003 in G.D. art painting from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalay Pune. He has been working in the field of art for the past 16 years, being more interested in experimenting with various medias and subjects like installation, painting, mural and so on to express creative impetus.

Sanjay Tikkal is using culture, history, music, sculpture, guided by modern thoughts as an inspiration source to his painting. He has done 6 solo-shows, and 18 group shows. Currently he working as a college art professor, with an active participation in workshops, demonstrations and seminars for the past 10 years.

Artist Saurabh Sheth, who will showcase his work in Not Just a Garden, exhibits his artworks as comments on the lifescapes. Nurtured in the beautiful natural surroundings of Mahad in Konkan, he admires the everlasting impact of the alphabets of nature on his creative processes. Birds, animals and trees are his best companions and appear as preferred motifs in his art form. He has worked previously on the assemblage of diverse scrap materials to create artforms.

Saurabh presents his artworks as comment on the intersection of urban and tribal lifescape. Assemble and mold the resources as means of adaptation is common in both the lifescapes. The tribals build it upon the nature emphasizing on functionality while the urbans seek the synthetic substitutes that emphasizes opulence. Identifying the discords with this intersection, he points out the miniscule part of humans in the food chain against the swelled up animals as an outcome of nature’s attempt to seek the balance. The backbone of vigorous systems fossilizes mutely like a disowned school bench. The need of time is probably to muffle the amplified chaos of modernity and listen to the sweet tweets of birds

Aboli Kadam is a visual artist based in Pune with a BFA in Painting and Printmaking. Her paintings, drawings in ink, graphic prints and installations have evolved as a journey into discovering the essence of the inmost. She has recently exhibited her works in Art Fairs and Print Biennale across India, Italy, Spain, UK and Japan. Her creations in Bamboo are inspired and drawn from her sensitivity and sensibility towards the essence of nature, explorations in form and formlessness, transcending her works into experiences of contemplative forms and spaces.

Popat Mane Born in a farmer's family, a Drama and Cinema enthusiast, embarked on his artistic journey with Drawing & Painting Diploma from Sangli & Pune. After completing Sculpture & Painting Diploma from J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, he worked extensively as an Art director.
Besides Acting, Lights & Set designing in several one-act plays, murals and sculpture works he also worked as an Artist Modeler at Bharati Vidhyapeeth's Medical College for 5 years. Currently, he is working as a lecturer at College of Fine Arts, Pune for past 18 years. Conjointly, he actively indulges in professional projects involving murals and sculptures in various media. He still nurtures the prospect of Learning the art and practicing it.

Nachiket is a Bachelor of Fine arts who holds an experience of more than a decade in the world of art. He is an established artist in Pune and has worked as commercial and fine artist with prestigious companies, organisations and institutions. His works are inspired by daily life events and situations. Medium is no bar for Nachiket as he believes in giving the best form to his ideas and concepts using appropriate medium of expression.


January - 2017


Event Date - 5 th January- 17

1) Inauguration: "Search Within" (11.00 a.m)
2) Inauguration: Pune Biennale 2017 (5.00 p.m)

Event Date - 16 th Jan- 17

Identity and self (11.30 a.m)

Event Date - 27 th Jan- 17

Poetry at Sangam
Timing - 7.00 p.m
Venue - India House Art Gallery, Balewadi

Event Date - 20 th Jan- 17

Video presentations
Timing - 5.00 p.m to 6.00 p.m
Venue - Nehru Cultural centre,Auditorium Ghole road

Event Date - 31 th December- 16

1) Public spaces

Event Date - 6 th January- 17

1) Inauguration: Moving art spaces (11.00 a.m)
2) Inauguration:Habit - co - Habit (1.30 p.m)
3) Inauguration: “Identity and Self” (6.30 p.m)
4) Inauguration:Vaishwik Art Environament (5.00 p.m)
5) Inauguration:Merawala Blue (6.00 p.m)

Event Date - 7 th January- 17

1) Inauguration: Young Expressions (10.30 a.m)
2) Inauguration: Not just a garden (12.30 p.m)
3) Talk: “Everyday Spaces” (2.30 pm – 4.30 pm)

Event Date - 8 th January- 17

1) Inauguration: “Art, Space and Props” (12.30 pm)
2) Talk: “Artistic Simulations” (11.00 am- 1.30 pm)
3) Inauguration: “Out of Shadows” (4.30 pm)
4) Inauguration: Indigo Routes” (7.0 pm)

Event Date - 9 th January- 17

1) Etching Workshop (10.30 a.m)

Event Date - 13 th January- 17

1) Video presentation:From Mobile Parikh center,Mumbai (5.00 pm to 6.00 p.m)

Event Date - 14 th January- 17

1) “Kriya” –painting workshop (10:00 am- 7:00 pm)
2) Talk:“Idiorrhythmy” (3:00 – 5:00 pm)
3) Moving Pictures: Artists’ Films from the Film London Jarman Awards (5.00 – 7.00pm)

Event Date - 15 th January- 17

1) Moving Pictures: Artists’ Films from the Film London Jarman Awards (5.00 – 7.00pm)

Event Date - 21 th January- 17

1) Talk: “Indian School of Polish Capitalism” by Janek Simon and Max Cegielski
Timing - 11.00 am to 12.30 pm
Venue - Nehru Cultural centre,Auditorium Ghole road

2) Video presentations
Timing - 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm
Venue - Nehru Cultural centre,Auditorium Ghole road

3) Talk:“Cosmic Sound & Cosmic Web”
Timing - 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Venue - Yona friedman Canopy, Phule Museum, Shivaji Nagar

4) Movie and Discussion on " Laxma Gaud "
Timing - (4:00 pm)
Venue - Yashwantrao Chavan Art Gallery, Kothrud

Event Date - 22 nd January- 17

1) “Earth Matters” : Drawing Competition for Children
Timing - 5.00 pm
Venue - Sambhaji Park, Shivaji Nagar.

2) “Dance Your Way Thru’ Images, Haiku and Abhinaya!”
Timing - 5.00 pm

Venue - British Council Library, F.C Raod.

Event Date - 24 th January- 17

“Mix the Play”
Timing - 10.00 am to 2.30 pm
Venue - British Council Library, F.C Road.

Event Date - 28 th January- 17

1) Talk: “Pune. Arrival City”
Timing - 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Venue - Yona friedman Canopy, Phule Museum, Shivaji Nagar

2) Award Distribution: Children Drawing competition
Timing - 6 pm
Venue - Nehru Cultural centre,Auditorium Ghole road

Event Date - 29 th January- 17

Closing Ceremony
Timing - 5.30 pm
Venue - Nehru Cultural centre,Auditorium Ghole road