Biennial Symposium 2023 – Legacies of Care, Failures and Emerging Solidarities

The Prince Claus Fund is launching its first Biennial Symposium. Collaborating with partners within various localities, the event facilitates South-to-South knowledge exchange and harnesses the potential of culture for fostering solidarity and positive societal change.

In collaboration with the Geoffrey Bawa Trust, we welcome international and local partners for a three-day programme of keynotes, performances, tours and more. Titled “Legacies of Care, Failures and Emerging Solidarities,” the symposium aims to facilitate conversation and reflection on how arts and culture can address urgent societal challenges and stimulate international solidarity across global issues of climate, equity, and freedom. Beyond the global, the symposium focuses on local research and employs a trans-local lens, to delve deeper into the urgencies of action and collaboration. 

Taking the practice of care as a departure point for activating a sustainable and inclusive future co-existence, the symposium focuses on resilience and regeneration, with emerging and established cultural changemakers collectively investigating the ways of acting sustainably and responsibly, to create inhabitable societies in different localities. Enabling our failures to be a driving force for new beginnings, the symposium aims to create long-lasting connections between cultural practitioners from Southeast Asia and worldwide.

The symposium’s programme will feature internationally renowned artists and changemkers. The honorary chair of the Prince Claus Fund’s Board, HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, will be in conversation with the Biennial Symposium’s artistic director Keng Sen Ong reflecting on the work and legacy of the Fund. See the full programme below and learn more on

Full programme

December 3, 6–8pm, Kamatha Arena, BMICH, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Performance choreographed by Venuri Perera. The event will be followed by a reception.

December 4, 9:30am–5pm, The Stables, Park Street Mews, Colombo, Sri Lanka
symposium features:

Liveable Societies—Climate, Water, Air, and Us: Greening Architecture by Channa Daswatte (Sri Lanka) / Water Politics, Land Use by Marvi Mazhar (Pakistan) / Rights of Nature by Pooja Sood, Khoj (India)

The Human-made—Different Kinships, Memorialisation, Food Politics: Justice, Dignity, and the Need for Safer Spaces by Fadescha (Berlin/India) / Memorialisation and Historicisation by Anomaa Rajakaruna (Sri Lanka) / The Kitchens of the Displaced: Food, Memories, Agency by Tayeba Begum Lipi, Britto Art Trust (Bangladesh)

Documenting and Empowering the Context: Truth to Power by Shahidul Alam (Bangladesh) / We are Present: The Power of Narratives is Ours by Radhika Hettiarachchi (Sri Lanka) / Contemporary Urgencies by Kanak Manit Dixit (Nepal)

Failures and Futurities: Failure of Decolonization by Avni Sethi (India) / Wisdoms of the Non-Human by Hira Nabi (Pakistan) / Post-civil War: Archaeology as a Weapon by Dr. T. Sanathanan (Sri Lanka) / Learning Through the Arts, After a History of Silencing by Sharareh Bajracharya (Nepal)

South Asian Contemporary Experiments in Solidarity—What Can They Look Like and What Are Their Limitations, Conditions, Legacies, Failures: Curating as Making Queer Kins in Karachi and Elsewheres by Aziz Sohail (Pakistan/Australia) / Counter Worldmaking in the Cold War Era and Contemporary Hyperlocality: Friendship, Intimacy, and Play by Sandev Handy (Sri Lanka) / Stitching Together the Translocal, and the Burdens of Solidarity by Sheelasha Rajbhandari (Nepal)

The Human Being Amidst Planetary Deterioration: Exhausting the Human Being in Global Foreign Labour by Hit Man Gurung (Nepal) / Exploitative and Extractivist Cultures: Accountability before Development by Sammy Baloji (Congo) / Way of the Forest by Natasha Ginwala / Colomboscope (Sri Lanka)

International Potentialities: Parallel Activations and New Alliances, for Repair: Carla Fernandez (Mexico) / Besa Luci (Kosovo) / Maya El Khalil (Lebanon) / Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana)

December 5, 4:30–9pm, Lunuganga, Bentota, Sri Lanka
Seeds for the Future event featuring HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, artistic director Keng Sen Ong and Prince Claus Seed Awardees Chathuri NissansalaParilojithan RamanathanAdit DewanAnkurArpita AkhandaDebashish PaulMoe Myat May ZarchiUjjwala Maharjan, Suranga KatugampalaAmmara Jabbar and Asad Ali Zulfiqar 

The night will be rounded off by Hania Luthufi’s musical performance Saṅkhāra.