The name CONA takes its meaning from Hindi and means an edge — both literally and figuratively. At the edge of the city and the edge of exclusive and institutionalised modes of operation, CONA seeks to provide a parallel line of engagement to students, artists, designers, researchers and cultural professionals. Emerging out of a shared studio space, it was conceived as a space of gathering and discussion; the inclination was to bring together cultural practitioners and their ideas, and to nurture exchanges and discourse between them. Their pedagogical programme includes Adda which is regularly hosted to initiate dialogue between students and artists. It carries out and supports curatorial work while looking at the form of the exhibition from a critical perspective.
The residencies are independently funded by CONA and also through the support of institutional grants such as the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation. The space also facilitates workshops and brings in mentors from fields both related and unrelated to art, resulting in a vast range of series on art practices such as cyanotype, etching, lithography to permaculture, aesthetics and book-making. Its mentorship programme is interdisciplinary, bringing in extensive engagement with cinema, design and music.
The KATCONA Design Cell is an off-shoot of CONA that incorporates a full-scale analogue print studio. The studio’s printing apparatus attempts to create a studio space beyond the institutionalised domain of the art school as well as foster the practice of printmaking and thinking about printmaking in the age of digital technology. Another project, Furniture Object, designs collectable miniature furniture pieces for sale and invites collaboration from artists interested in exploring non-utilitarian form and its value. CONA has collaborated with organisations such as Gasworks, Creative India Foundation, Creative Time Summit, India Foundation for the Arts, Japan Foundation and Pro Helvetia Swiss Art Council.
“CONA Foundation.” CONA Foundation. Accessed, June 6, 2021. http://www.conafoundation.net/about-cona.php
“CONA, Mumbai.” Inlaks Foundation. Accessed, June 6, 2021. https://www.inlaksfoundation.org/art/residencies-in-india/cona/
Pillai, Pooja. “Open House.” Indian Express, July 10, 2017. https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/with-its-new-print-studio-cona-foundation-furthers-its-vision-of-an-open-and-integrative-space-for-artists-designers-and-other-creative-practitioners-4743282/