A Delhi-based art writer and critic, Meenakshi Thirukode primarily works towards developing collaborative spaces as an alternative to museums and galleries.
Thirukode received her BA in fine arts from the Stella Maris College for Women, Chennai in 2002. She worked in Mumbai in the field of advertising for several years before transitioning towards art. In 2006–07, she got an MA in history of the art market, connoisseurship and criticism from Christie’s Education, New York. Subsequently, she worked as a gallery manager for the Guild Art Gallery, New York.
From 2010, Thirukode began working on public and collaborative projects. She co-founded Project for Empty Space with Jasmine Wahi, turning vacant plots in working-class neighbourhoods in New York into spaces for locals to create and showcase art linked to their social and cultural heritage. Her multi-format film project Isha: A Tell-All Tale debuted at the Bushwick Festival in 2013. A satirical take on Indian soap operas, the film was partially performed on stage and delved into issues of race, class and gender roles in narrating the story of an Indian woman in New York. Thirukode went on to work as the director of the New Media Department for the festival. In 2014, she returned to India to join the Dakshinachitra Heritage Museum as its creative director.
Thirukode received the FICA Inlaks Goldsmiths Scholarship in 2016, and obtained an MRes in curatorial knowledge from Goldsmiths, University of London. She then joined the gallery Exhibit320 as its curatorial director, where she set up 1after320, a not-for-profit aiming to build collaborations between artists and other creative professionals
Her writing and curatorial practice reflect on the possibilities of creating and sharing artistic knowledge through networks outside the art market, particularly in South Asia. Her work takes the form of collaborative writing, curated exhibitions, lectures, reading groups and symposia — mostly in non-commercial or alternative spaces. These include projects such as Here, There and Everywhere (2018), a conference organised at MAC Birmingham, and Out of Turn, Being Together Otherwise (2018), which explored histories of performance art, in collaboration with Asia Art Archive at the Serendipity Arts Festival. With the writer and curator Arnika Ahldag, Thirukode initiated Instituting Otherwise, aiming to examine the stakes of the #MeToo movement and work towards a more feminist art world. A significant portion of her practice is presented through her collaborative formation, The School of Instituting Otherwise.
Thirukode’s writing has been featured in a number of publications, including Art Asia Pacific, Art India, Critical Collective, The Hindu, and Hyperallergic, in addition to curatorial notes and catalogue essays. She contributed to the Routledge Companion Series for Art in the Public Realm (2020) with her essay ‘Towards a Public of the Otherwise’.
At the time of writing, Thirukode lives and works in New Delhi.
“FICA Inlaks Goldsmiths Scholarship 2016-2017 | MEENAKSHI THIRUKODE.” Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art. Accessed May 4, 2022. https://ficart.org/new-page-11
“Meenakshi Thirukode.” Serendipity Arts Foundation. Accessed May 4, 2022. https://serendipityarts.org/curator/meenakshi-thirokode/
“Meenakshi Thirukode.” Visible Project. Accessed May 4, 2022. https://www.visibleproject.org/blog/person/meenakshi-thirukode/
Elias, Esther. “The world her canvas.” The Hindu. August 15, 2014. Accessed May 4, 2022. https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/meet-meenakshi-thirukode-creative-director-of-dakshinachitra/article6321610.ece