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

Ajinkya Gomase

Amruta S. Upadhye

Aniket Patil

Art Lane

Deepti Bhalerao

Dr. Vimmie Manoj

Ganesh Pokharkar

Jitendra Thorat

Kailas Jagannath Yadav

Mahesh Nirantare

Mansi Jadhav

Minou Tsambika Polleros

Mugdha Martin

Mukul Singh

Paresh K. More

Pooza Kataria

Prashant Bangal

Ram Dashrath Kumbhar

Rumi Samadhan

Ruve Narang

Saloni Soni

Sanjay Tikkal

Saurabh Sheth

Shekhar Dahival

Sudhir Pawar

Ulhas Anantrao Kagde

Ullas KG

Vaishali Khude-Kagde

Project Director

Popat Mane


Nachiket Prakash

Laboratory of Living Architecture

A site-specific performance piece & photo exhibition
21 January 2017

The Laboratory of Living Architecture is an enquiry into a more fluid understanding and inhabiting of urban space. It wants to look at the creative repatterning of how we think, see and ultimately move in and within architectural spaces. Our sense of identity, of belonging and of self are intrinsically interwoven with the places we live in. Urban architecture is in many ways our expanded second skin in which we dwell, amongst which we walk and live. This work offers a space in which the creative investigation of urban space can become a dialogue between inner self and outer extended self. Architecture becomes a partner with whom I am in dialogue, introducing a more personal relationship and more creative agency into how I relate and how I shape the city in which I live. It is in this way that the laboratory is a radical and yet deeply personal practice suggesting a re-patterning of ready made ways of knowing and moving. The work can be regarded as a Social Choreography as it involves the imagination of each participant to see and inhabit well known places in new ways. It is in this way that the Laboratory of Living Architecture can be a gateway into new creative perceptions of urban place making, offering a binary dialogue with the enquiry how we can shape city space and how city space is shaping our sense of identity.

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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.

Ajinkya Ramesh Gomase, participating artist of Not Just a Garden project, holds BFA degree from Pune University. Considering success as a path and not the destination, he continuously pursued to excel in the chosen field of work and nurture his talents to expose the best of him in the demanding world of innovations and art. Ajinkya participated in many national & state levels Sculpture, Painting & Portrait competitions, also he arranged summer camps in Pune. Throughout his career the artist participated in 13 group shows and won 3rd Award in 2013-2014 All India 27 Central South Cultural Zone in Nagpur, Maharashtra along with 1st Award in Annual Art Exhibition, Maharashtra 2014-2015.

Shekhar Maruti Dahiwal, participating artist of Not Just a Garden project was born in Pabal, Maharashtra, India. He completed GD. Art degree (Drawaing and Painting) from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya in Pune.

Since 1995 he participated in selected solo and group exhibitions and workshops including 35th Maharashtra State Art Exhibition, 13th All India Art Contest & Exhibition SCZCC at Nagpur in 2005, The Bombay Art Society "113th All India Exhibition Award & Medal", Jahangir Art Gallary, Mumbai (Group Show) in 2007, 58th National Exhibition of Art Lalit Kala Academy" New Delhi National Art Conclave Bengaluru, Karnataka and 1st National Kalasankranthi Award Karnataka Lalit Kala Academy.

A self-taught artist, Ullas K G experiments with various medium and techniques. He maintains that more than the medium, the exact rendition of the thought is what would help create a meaningful intervention. And it is perhaps due to this stance, his art connects unusually emotional to the spectators.

Born in 1985 in Calicut, Kerala, brought up in various places all over India. Ullas holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration, from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala and is an MBA from Institute for Technology and Management, Chennai. He also holds a Masters in Public Administration from Madras University.

A National Gold medalist in 1999, from Avantika International-an organization promoting oriental art. Ullas has conducted two exhibitions - in 2000 and 2002.

A voracious reader, political analyst, cartoonist and an ardent football fan, Ullas also loves Carnatic and other Indian classical music. He works as an analyst with an MNC in Pune.

Amruta S. Upadhye has completed MFA Painting from Bharti Vidhyapeeth College of Fine Art, Pune. She holds a Diploma in Art Education from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalay, Pune as well as G.D. Art Paining from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalay, Pune. Amruta has worked with Young Buzz under Sakal Media Group. She also has worked with CNKM (Chitraleela Niketan Kala Mahavidhyalaya), Pune for 2 years. Her work is based on the concept of two extremities for every journey, in case of our lives those are birth and death. The artist is trying to explore these though self-identity and self-image.

Ganesh Pokharkar believes that we always see listen and believe in everything around us, however its presence is felt only when we experience it. In the same way various forms of life in rural & urban areas are depicted in the pictures produced by Ganesh on Canvas. His frames make you realize the feelings he is going through or went through during his journey in today’s world. He has always made an attempt to establish common waves between the rural & urban life and its joy, happiness and sadness trapped into it. He has mastered an art of expressing the true value of one’s existence in today’s world through impressive color combinations.

Ulhas Anantrao Kagde holds GD degree in Art Painting and a Diploma in Art Education from Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune. Ulhas has worked as an art teacher and art lecturer for 5 years; participated in several art exhibitions including State Art Exhibition in Mumbai and Kala Dirgha - All India Exhibition of Art in Patna. The artist has also won Silver Medal from Kalankan Prayas, Jharkhand.

Vaishali Khude-Kagde holds a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from Pune. She participated in All India Art Exhibition Bombay Art Society, 2004; Camlin Art Foundation, Mumbai, 2004; South Central Zone ,Nagpur 2003; P.L.Deshpande. Foundation, Mumbai 2004; Pune Festival Art Exhibition 2004; Citari Academy State Level, Pune 2006; Kala Dirgha-All India Exhibition Of Art-Patna 2006; All India Art Exhibition Bombay Art Society 2009.

Prashant Vinayakrao Bangal hold BFA degree in Painting from Govt. College of Arts from Aurangabad, Maharashtra and a Diploma in sculpture and modelling from Bharti Kala Mahavidhyalay in Pune. The artist had 3 solo shows: “CATMOODS” in India Art Gallery (2007); “CATMOODS” in Jehangir Art Gallery (2008) and “KNOW CATS” in Jehangir Art Gallery (2015). The artist has won 6 awards since 2000 including awards from Inter College Youth Festival and Annual Exhibition, Camlin Award, Govt. College of Arts.

Dr. Manoj is an academician, poet, painter and a sculpture artist. She is a self-taught artist from Pune. She holds B.Sc., Masters in Arts and a Ph.D degree in English literature, as well as M.B.A. degree. Dr. Vimmie Manoj was invited for lecture series on Visual Interpretation of Music in the paintings of the American-Hungarian Artist Susan Dobay, Sponsored by Hungarian International Cultural Centre New Delhi in 2015. She was also selected for 88 Annual All India Art Exhibition 2015, AIFACS. As an artist she is passionate about driftwood, paintings and poetry and she has chosen Gender Studies as an area of her specialization.

Mumbai based artist Rumi Samadhan currently has been working on the visual theme of Soilscapes, Sediment and Roots, and has developed a unique vocabulary of her own which oscillates between complex ink drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations.
She believes that culture, language, text are natural formations, just like organic entities. They grow, merge, deteriorate and regrow. Death of any civilization is the foundation for new ones to be born. The Earth, as her source allows the artist to have multitude of variations. This slice of time, in the form of 'Sediment' is the most significant element for her practice.

Paresh K. More is an abstract artist from Pune. Ever since he was a kid, Paresh was ambitious to become an artist. The artist works with water color and acrylic media. Also he uses natural elements, such as water to give his works semitransparent and transparent feeling. He takes works of Franz Kline as an inspiration. The personal style Kline developed during the time, using simplified forms, became increasingly more abstract. In his works, Paresh concentrated on a line and developed a concept of a line being a not only a geographical horizon, but a double oriented thing.

Ram Dashrath Kumbhar hold a BFA degree in Sculpture from Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai. The artist has won 12 awards since 2010 from South Central Zone Cultural Center, The Bombay Art Society, JSW Foundation Awards, Kalamandir Art Collage Kohlapur and so on. In 2014 the artist participated in Gov. State Art Exhibition. While living in the city, he got to see many different types of people, styles and personalities, which has been a huge impact on his creativity.

Kailas Jagannath Yadav holds M.F.A. degree in Painting from Sir J.J School of Art, Mumbai. In Tracing the Paths Unknown, one of the highlights of this show, Kailas Yadav has summed up his past in objects of his growing, the head-dress when baby, the belts, chappals which mark his regional identity, self-portraits and lastly a blank frame. The background that he uses is the document that validates the ownership of land. Kailas has subverted the parts of the document as he shows the validity of his identity through the saatbaara (saatbara is the legal document which is required to fill when selling or purchasing of the land, has the history of ownership and also has space for following owners). The work is the legal document of the path followed by Kailas from his childhood to his adolescence up to youth, with the last frame left vacant depicting future.

Deepti Bhalerao is a Prafulla Dahanukar woman artist Award winner from Mumbai. She believes that everything in nature have its own unique existence. Art is nothing but transforming them into a medium which can be filled by senses. Since 2002 Deepti had her 4 solo shows in Pune, Mumbai and Ahmadnagar. The artist also has been a part of 7 group shows in Calcutta, Mumbai and Pune since 2004.

Sudhir Pawar, a participating artist in Not Just a Garden, studied on realistic landscape during his graduation time. In 2001-2002, right after his graduation he participated in pot series and landscape exhibition in Jahangir Art Gallery. In the same period, he had received several awards for his for landscape artworks, including ones from Art Society of India, State Maharashtra, South Central Zone Nagpur, etc. He believes that change is very important for an artist. In 2008 he received Camlin Award for the “My Baby” series, which was based on and inspired by his daughter. The same series was exhibited in Jahangir Art Gallery, Mumbai. Currently the artist is working as Assistant Professor in Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Fine Art, as well as preparing for his next show in Dhile Lalit Kala Academy.

‘Art Lane’ is a motley group of artists from diverse professions. Art Lane was founded in January 2016 which is a collective of six artists aligned to different art forms such as painting, photography, mosaic, pen and ink, charcoal, mosaic, fabric art etc.
Since January 2016 they have held two group exhibitions in Pune- Brush, Palette and Coffee in January 2016 and Kalagoshthi in October 2016. Art Lane is committed to promoting artistic practice and culture in the city of Pune and also to provide artists of different genres a common platform to showcase their art.
Artist of Art Lane are Vaishali Rajapurkar, Durga Tilak, Mitalee Joshi, Smita Raje-Deshapnde and Neela Vidwans

Not Just a Garden artist, Mahesh Nirantare holds a Diploma in Art Education from Kalasagar Kala Mahavidyalaya. He also got a Government Diploma in Art from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya in 2010. Mahesh has won awards from Bombay Art Society (2012); V.V. Oak Award (2008, 2011); G.N. Jadhav Best Portrait Award (2009); Best Portrait Award- Chitari Academy (2009); Merit Certificate in State Art Exhibition (2009); Camel Art Foundation, Goa (2008) and he got 1st Prize in Annual Exhibition, Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalay, Pune (2007, 2008).

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:

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.