Avani Tanya announced as the new V&A South Asian Collections Resident

June 30, 2017
Avani Tanya: V&A South Asian Collections Resident

We are delighted to announce Avani Tanya as our new V&A South Asian Collections Resident between July and the end of September 2017.

Avani is an interdisciplinary artist working with image, text, found objects and sculpture. Guided by an interest in the nature of memory and forms of storytelling, her practice primarily involves research, collecting and documentation.

The Snapped Rope and Other Stories from the New Bangalore, Avani Tanya, 2012

Tanya was trained in Interdisciplinary Art and Design from the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. Her interests lie in how the collective human experience can be interpreted through stories embedded in found objects and artefacts. Much of her artistic practice has often been about exploring the boundaries of collections and their contemporary relevance, especially to multifaceted cultures with varying and fast evolving mediums of documenting and remembering. Past projects involve themes of collecting and documenting memories from displaced communities, particularly those on perilous journeys during times of unrest.

Avani Tanya’s contributed collection of photographs, texts and found objects from a trip to Belgrade in 2016 as included in the publication Beograd—White city

During her residency, Tanya will explore the V&A’s collecting practices. She is interested in understanding the various curatorial choices that have informed the South Asia collections over time, spanning across categories such as textiles, photography, prints and ceramics. She is specifically interested in the stories behind objects that are in the collections but have never been exhibited or displayed in South Kensington and plans to look at how systematic archiving techniques can make it possible to cut across multiple subjects such as colonial history, governance, policy, gender, popular culture, linguistics while examining the combined conflicts that these create.

Avani Tanya documents how collections are displayed at the National Museum New Delhi, 2014

“The V&A’s South Asia collections hold the rarest and the most expansive historical record of the Indian subcontinent’s visual and material culture. It is a testament to a shared cultural hybridity, and the intimately bound relationship of the subcontinent to the rest of the world. The aim of my residency is to respond to the origins of this collection and its relevance today. The practice of collecting and displaying has its roots in curiosity and wonder. Over time it has been used as a system to establish categories, to promote agendas, as a show of colonial prowess and ultimately to administer power. In our radically chaotic times the museum provides a refuge. The illusionary systems of archiving and collecting bring about a sense of understanding and comprehension. My plan for this residency is to explore, through a series of artistic gestures and responses, the boundaries of the South Asia collections to examine what constitutes a collection and what gets left out of the museological narrative.”

Please follow the link to see information on Avani’s Open Studios at the V&A:


This residency is in collaboration with the Delfina Foundation, supported by the Charles Wallace India Trust, Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation and Arts Council England. Avani’s residency is part of Here, There and Everywhere, which is supported through funding by Arts Council England as part of a national project, Reimagine India.

About the author

June 30, 2017

I am the Residency Programme Assistant at the V&A, managing our artists in residence and their studios. I also project manage many events, displays and installations run by our Learning...

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