The biggest inspiration for artists has unarguably been Mother Nature—and the Earth. The first Indian Ceramics Triennale: Breaking Ground, thus aims to set the ground for a continuing three-year cycle of art shows that celebrate the vast possibilities of the medium of clay. The event, organised by Jaipur’s Jawahar Kala Kendra in collaboration with the Contemporary Clay Foundation, will present 35 Indian and 12 international artist projects, 10 collaborations, 12 speakers, a symposium, film screenings and workshops for adults and children. 

“Long relegated to the status of second-class citizen in the world of art, in the 21st Century ceramics have taken on a renewed urgency and relevance in international contemporary artistic practice. Primordial and ubiquitous, earth, dirt and clay speak to the very core of our beings and can spark our most fundamental creative energies. The Indian Ceramics Triennale will highlight the finest practitioners of experimental ceramics working today, those who are expanding our conceptions of an ancient medium claiming its place in the future,” says Peter Nagy of Nature Morte, who is closely associated with the triennale.

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The projects in the Triennale explore themes of scale, site specificity and/or concept through installation, interaction, technology and performance. 

“We seek to broaden the horizon of the medium of clay. The Ceramics Triennale aims to showcase alternative, experimental and experiential uses of ceramics within and beyond the boundaries of the traditional gallery. You see this in the artworks of both Indian and international artists like Shampa Shah from India and Ingrid Murphy from the UK, for instance,” says Anjani Khanna of the Contemporary Clay Foundation. Adds Ray Meeker of Golden Bridge Pottery says, “For over a decade Indian ceramic artists have been breaking ground around the world—China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Spain, the UK and USA. It's high time to break a bit of ground at home”. 

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The Indian artists were selected through a nationwide open call and foreign artists through invitation. Stalwarts like P Daroz and Ray Meeker, along with a diverse group of both emerging or mid-career Indian artists present an array of stimulating, thought-provoking works. The 12 international artists are established, highly respected practitioners and include British artist Kate Malone, co-presenter of the BBC’s popular Great Pottery Throwdown, who will set up studio at JKK with her studio team for over a week. Other international artists include Korean artist Juree Kim, former artist in residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum and an exhibitor at the British Ceramics Biennial, internationally recognized Japanese artist Hoshino Saturo and Ester Beck from Israel who will exhibit a performance-based work. Jane Perryman from the UK will present a collaborative project of ceramic and sound while Jacques Kaufmann, the president of the UNESCO affiliated International Academy of Ceramics will create an architecturally scaled work. Jessika Edgar of the US and DanijelaPivašević-Tenner of Germany are also among the invited foreign artists. 

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"From a historical perspective, there has been a major turn in the field of ceramics worldwide. In a country like India where ceramics and clay have always been considered as artisanal craft, the Ceramics Triennale will increase visibility and allow ceramics to be appreciated as an art form in its own right," says Pooja Sood of Jawahar Kala Kendra. The event will take place from 31 August to 18 November, and is open to the public. 

My Nation is proud of our indigenous clay art!