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Raqs Media Collective

Raqs Media Collective, formed in 1992 and based out of New Delhi, is comprised of three practitioners, Jabeesh Bagchi, Monica Narulu and Suddhabrata Sengupta. The name ‘raqs’ stems from a word in Urdu, Persian and Arabic that means ‘the state that whirling dervishes enter when they whirl’, which is indicative of the collective’s practice encompassing art theoretical research, historical inquiry and philosophical speculation.

Exhibitions curated by Raqs include ‘Why Not Ask Again’ (Shanghai Biennale 2016-2017) and they were appointed artistic director of the Yokohama Triennale in 2020. Their work has been exhibited at Documenta, the Venice, Sao Paolo, Manifesta, Istanbul, Shanghai, Sydney and Taipei Biennales, while other solo shows at museums include MUAC (Mexico City 2015), Tate Exchange (London 2016) and the Whitworth Art Gallery (Manchester 2017).

Raqs Media Collective completed a week-long residency with Bellas Artes Projects on May 28–June 4, 2019. 

Raqs describes their approach to creative collaboration as a piecemeal process of progression; often beginning with visual, historical or contextual stimuli, the group allows for ideas to develop through a combination of personal research and group discussion.  Learning about Bataan as an important religious and historical site contributed to this context responsive approach. A guided tour of the Bataan World War II museum by a Death March (1942) veteran was hugely insightful. While visits to several religious sites, including the Parish of Saint Catherine of Siena, the Saint Dominic Church of Abucay and Mt. Samat, tied in with the group’s interest in the role of local mythologies, icons and gods in shaping popular memory and imagination.

Raqs was also interested in the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant’s vulnerable geographical location — as a metaphor for the volatility and fragility of history and memory — and in relation to their upcoming tour of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland later this year. 

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