An art historian, curator and designer, Annapurna Garimella is known for her research on vernacular art and architecture traditions in the Indian subcontinent, including indigenous as well as folk art in rural and urban areas, post-Independence. Along with Sindhura DM, she heads Jackfruit Research and Design, an organisation that undertakes various educational, curatorial and design projects.
Garimella received her Bachelor’s in Graphic Design and Art History from California State University and her MA, MPhil and PhD from Columbia University. Between 1999–2000, Garimella and cinematographer SK Rao researched on the social and cultural history of temples and local shrines in Bangalore (now Bengaluru) through a grant from India Foundation for the Arts. In 2001 she founded the non-profit Art, Resources and Teaching Trust, which manages a public art library in Shanthi Nagar, Bengaluru, and conducts research and pedagogical projects around architecture and visual art, particularly to make art research more accessible to people. Garimella was the former Research Editor and member of the Advisory Board at Marg Publications and is currently part of the board of Sarojini Naidu School of Art and Communication at the University of Hyderabad. She regularly conducts cultural tours all over India in collaboration with the Archaeological Institute of America and is on the jury for the 2021 JCB Prize for Literature.
Garimella has delivered lectures on her research at various art institutions and events over the years such as “The Vernacular Contemporary” at the Melbourne Art Fair in 2012 and “More Than Luck” at the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art in 2014. She has curated multiple major exhibitions in India, key among which are the two-part Vernacular, in the Contemporary (2010–2011) at Devi Art Foundation; Faith: Manu Parekh in Benaras 1980–2012 (2012) at Art Alive, New Delhi; and Mutable: Ceramic and Clay Art in India Since 1947 (2017–2018) at the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai — catalogues of these exhibitions were later published as books with the same titles. Apart from these, Garimella has curated Drawing 2014 (2014) at Gallery Espace, New Delhi and held the Barefoot School of Craft architectural competition at Serendipity Arts Festival in 2017. She has also written The Artful Life of R. Vijay (2016) centred around the collaborative work of Waswo X Waswo and miniature manuscript painter Rakesh Vijayvargiya. Her edited volumes include, The Contemporary Hindu Temple: Fragments for a History (2019) along with Shriya Sridharan and A. Srivathsan, Shaping the Indian Modern (2005) and Akbar Padamsee: Work in Language (2010) along with Bhanumati Padamsee. In 2017, she received the India Today Emerging Curator of the Year Award.
At the time of writing, Garimella lives and works between New Delhi and Bengaluru.
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