India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) is a national, not-for-profit, grantmaking organisation that supports practice, research and education in the arts in India. Set up as a Public Charitable Trust in 1993, IFA started making grants in 1995. In its more than 20 Years of grantmaking, IFA has supported over 450 arts projects disbursing over Rs 21 crores in twenty one states across India, creating a facilitative environment for the arts in India. The outcomes of IFA grants haven been films, books, essays, publications, exhibitions, productions, performances, materials for archives, installations and educational materials. IFA thus holds a large and significant collection of materials generated through the grants and all the documents created in the process of managing them. IFA has supported work across disciplines and genres, and in turn it has become a rich repository of artistic reflections, questions, and engagements with our shared histories. This journey of the various grant projects is a treasure trove for artists and scholars across the world. You can learn more about their work at www.indiaifa.org.
IFA has embarked on a project to create an Archive—both physical and digital—and open up some of its contents to the public. This long-term project will include identifying the gaps in the materials on hand, contacting past grantees for permission to make some parts of their work public, structuring and framing the logic of the archive, building and implementing software systems, and ensuring that there are enough resources for creating the archive.
This IFA Archive will be a witness to the multiple histories of the arts and culture in India, its turns, shifts and fractures. While providing us with a narrative of an independent grant-making body, the archive will also enable artistic and curatorial interventions, becoming both canvas and stage for multiple interpretations. It will enable us to access the work of the many marginal, mainstream, silent, loud, and whispered voices from the larger linguistic, geographical, cultural, and other communities that envelop and contextualise us. If one delves into this material imaginatively, there will emerge multiple possibilities for a deeper understanding of a shared history of the arts.
Beyond its historical context the archive will also become a critical resource for scholars and artists and materials in the archive will provide inspiration and resource for new work. Students and independent researchers across disciplines will also find the IFA archive useful resource for their work and universities could offer courses based on such archives.
The Lohia Foundation has committed a four-year support to help build the IFA Archive.