The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the first Indian Art, Architecture & Design Biennale (IAADB) 2023 being held at Red Fort today. During the programme, the Prime Minister inaugurated the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design’ at Red Fort and the student Biennale- Samunnati. He also launched a Commemorative Stamp. Shri Modi also took a walkthrough of the exhibition showcased on the occasion. Indian Art, Architecture & Design Biennale (IAADB) will serve as an introduction to the Cultural Space in Delhi.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister welcomed everyone to the World Heritage Site of the Red Fort and highlighted the historical significance of its courtyards which remain unwavering and indelible even though multiple generations have passed before and after India’s independence.
The Prime Minister said that every nation is endowed with symbols of its own that introduce the world to the country’s past and its roots. He emphasized the role of art, culture and architecture in forging the connection with these symbols. Referring to the capital city of Delhi as a treasure trove of symbols that provide a glimpse of the rich architectural heritage of India, the Prime Minister said that the organization of Indian Art, Architecture & Design Biennale (IAADB) in Delhi makes it special in ways more than one. He praised the works displayed in the exhibition and said that it is an amalgamation of colors, creativity, culture and community connect. He congratulated the Ministry of Culture, its officers, the participating nations and everyone on the successful organization of IAADB. “Books act as windows of the world. Art is the great journey of the human mind”, the Prime Minister added.
Recalling the glorious past of India when its economic prosperity was discussed around the world, the Prime Minister said that its culture and heritage attract the tourists of the world even today. He reiterated the belief in moving forward by taking pride in one’s heritage as he noted the feeling of self-pride instilled in any work related to sectors of art and architecture. Shri Modi gave examples of developing the cultural centers of Kedarnath and Kashi, and the redevelopment of Mahakal Lok as he emphasized the government’s efforts in creating new dimensions in the Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal towards national heritage and culture. Underlining that IAADB is proving to be a new step in this direction, the Prime Minister highlighted the organization of the International Museum Expo in May 2023 and the Festival of Libraries in August 2023 with the aim to institutionalize global cultural initiatives in India with modernized systems. Prime Minister Modi expressed his desire to create a name for Indian cultural initiatives like IAADB along the likes of global initiatives such as Venice, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney and Sharjah Biennales, as well as Dubai and London Art Fairs. He emphasized the need for such organizations as it is art and culture that inculcate a way of life amidst the highs and lows of a heavily technology-dependent society. “Art and culture are essential to connecting the human mind with the inner self and recognizing its potential”, the Prime Minister remarked.
Speaking about the inauguration of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design, the Prime Minister said that it will provide a platform to promote unique and rare crafts of India while bringing together artisans and designers to help them innovate according to the market. “Artisans will also gain knowledge about design development as well as become proficient in digital marketing”, the Prime Minister said as he expressed confidence that with modern knowledge and resources, the Indian craftsmen can leave their mark on the whole world.
The Prime Minister underlined the creation of cultural spaces in 5 cities namely Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Varanasi as a historic step and said that it will further enrich these cities culturally. He informed that these centers will also put forward innovative ideas to enrich local art. Noting the 7 important themes for the next 7 days, the Prime Minister urged everyone to carry forward themes like ‘Deshaj Bharat Design: Indigenous Designs’ and ‘Samatva: Shaping the Built’ as a mission. He emphasized the importance of making indigenous design a part of study and research for the youth to further enrich it. Noting that the equality theme celebrates the participation of women in the field of architecture, he expressed confidence in the imagination and creativity of women to take this field to new heights.
“Art, taste and colors are considered synonymous with life in India”, the Prime Minister remarked. He reiterated the message of the ancestors that it is literature, music and art that acts as the main differentiator between humans and animals. “Art, literature and music add flavor to human life and make it special”, he emphasized. Touching upon the different needs and responsibilities of life that have been linked to Chatushashta Kala, i.e. 64 Arts, the Prime Minister mentioned specific arts like ‘Udak Vadyam’ or instrument based on water waves under musical instruments, dance and singing arts for songs, art of ‘Gandh Yukti’ for making scents or perfumes, art of ‘Takshakarma’ for enamel and carving, and art of ‘Suchivan Karmani’ in embroidery and weaving. He also touched upon the dexterity and craft of the ancient clothes made in India and gave the example of muslin cloth that could pass through a ring. He also noted the omnipresence of amazing artwork on war paraphernalia like swords, shields and spears.
The Prime Minister highlighted the indestructible culture of Kashi and said that the city has been the land of the immortal flow of literature, music and arts. “Kashi in its art, has established Lord Shiva who is spiritually considered the originator of arts,” he added. “Art, Craft and Culture are like energy flow for human civilization. And energy is immortal, consciousness is indestructible. Therefore Kashi is also imperishable.” The Prime Minister highlighted the recently launched Ganga Vilas Cruises which took passengers from Kashi to Assam providing a tour of the many cities and areas situated on the banks of Ganga.
“Whatever may be the form of art, it is born close to nature. Therefore, Art is pro-nature, pro-environment and pro-climate”, the Prime Minister emphasized. Throwing light on the riverfront culture in the countries of the world, Shri Modi drew the analogy to the tradition of ghats on the banks of rivers for thousands of years in India. He said that many of India’s festivals and celebrations are associated with these ghats. Similarly, the Prime Minister highlighted the rich tradition of wells, ponds and step wells in our country and gave the example of Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat and several other places in Rajasthan and Delhi. The Prime Minister praised the design and architecture of these step wells and the forts of India. He also recalled his visit to Sindhudurg Fort a few days ago. Shri Modi touched upon the Patwa Ki Haveli in Jaisalmer which is a group of five mansions built in a way to work like natural air conditioning. “All this architecture was not only long-lasting but also environmentally sustainable” Shri Modi said as he underlined that the world has a lot to understand and learn from India’s art and culture.
“Art, architecture and culture have been sources of both diversity and unity for human civilization”, Shri Modi reiterated. He said that India is the most diverse nation in the world and the diversity binds us together. He credited the source of diversity to the democratic tradition of India as the Mother of Democracy. He noted that art, architecture and culture flourish only when there is freedom of thought in society and freedom to work in one’s own way. “With this tradition of debate and dialogue, diversity automatically flourishes. We welcome and support every kind of diversity”, the Prime Minister said as he highlighted the organization of G-20 in different states and cities of the country to showcase this diversity to the world.
The Prime Minister reiterated India’s belief in no discrimination as its people talk about the universe instead of self. Today, the Prime Minister underlined that when India is emerging as the biggest economy in the world, everyone can see a better future for themselves in it. “India’s economic growth is linked to the progress of the entire world and its vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ brings new opportunities”, the Prime Minister remarked. Similarly, he noted that India’s revival in the field of art and architecture will also contribute to the nation’s cultural upliftment. Shri Modi also touched upon the heritage of Yoga Ayurveda and highlighted the new initiative of Mission LiFE for a sustainable lifestyle while keeping in mind India’s cultural values.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of interaction and cooperation for the prosperity of civilizations and thanked the participating countries for their partnership. He expressed confidence that more and more countries would come together and IAADB would prove to be an important beginning in this direction.
Union Minister for Culture, Shri G Kishan Reddy, Union Ministers of State for Culture, Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal and Smt Meenakshi Lekhi and Principal Architect at Diana Kellogg Architects, Ms Diana Kellogg were present on the occasion among others.
It was the Prime Minister’s vision to develop and institutionalize a flagship Global Cultural Initiative in the country like the International Biennales at Venice, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney and Sharjah, among others. In line with this vision, a nationwide campaign to reinvent, rebrand, renovate and re-house museums was launched. Further, the development of cultural spaces in five cities of India namely Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad & Varanasi was also announced. Indian Art, Architecture & Design Biennale (IAADB) will serve as an introduction to the Cultural Space in Delhi.
The IAADB is being organized from 9th to 15th December 2023 at Red Fort, New Delhi. It also follows key initiatives like the International Museum Expo (May 2023) and Festival of Libraries (August 2023) that were organized recently. IAADB is designed to initiate a holistic conversation between artists, architects, designers, photographers, collectors, art professionals and the public to strengthen the cultural dialogue. It will also provide avenues and opportunities to expand and collaborate with the creators of art, architecture and design as part of the evolving economy.
IAADB will showcase different theme-based exhibitions on each day of the week:
Day 1: Pravesh- Rite of Passage: Doors of India
Day 2: Bagh e bahar: Gardens as Universe: Gardens of India
Day 3: Sampravah: Confluence of Communities: Baolis of India
Day 4: Sthapatya: Anti-fragile algorithm: Temples of India
Day 5: Vismaya: Creative Crossover: Architectural Wonders of Independent India
Day 6: Deshaj Bharat Design: Indigenous Designs
Day 7: Samatva: Shaping the Built: Celebrating Women in Architecture
IAADB will include pavilions based on the above themes, panel discussions, art workshops, art bazaar, heritage walks and a parallel student biennale. The student biennale (Samunnati) at Lalit Kala Akademi will provide an opportunity for students to showcase their work, interact with peers & professionals, and gain valuable exposure within the architecture community through design competitions, display of heritage, installation designs, workshops etc. IAADB 23 is set to be a watershed moment for the country as it will herald India entering the Biennale landscape.
In line with the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Vocal for Local’, ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design’ at Red Fort is being set up. It will showcase the unique and indigenous crafts of India and provide a collaborative space between the karigars and the designers. Paving the way for a sustainable cultural economy, it will empower the artisan communities with new designs and innovations.