News & events > Chennai Photo Biennale 2019
22 Feb 2019 - 24 Mar 2019

Chennai Photo Biennale 2019


The 2nd Chennai Photo Biennale runs Feb 22 - Mar 24 2019, inviting 50 artists from around the world to exhibit in 10 venues across the city. 

The Chennai Photo Biennale is a 4-week long large-scale public art event that spans across Chennai and celebrates the photographic medium with interventions in publicly accessible spaces such as railway stations, colleges, parks and beaches.

The Chennai Photo Biennale is an international festival of photography, which will take place in Chennai across several historical, art and public venues in the city, organized by the Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation, a non- profit trust. Besides exhibitions, there will be an international seminar, workshops, film screenings, talks and performances. We will immerse the city in photography and celebrate it in the course of the Biennale. This will be a premier visual art event and a benchmark in the cultural scene of Chennai and India. The 1st Biennale had nineteen venues with public shows in train stations, parks and art galleries and attracted thousands of people.

An International Conference on Photography - 'Light Writing' - will be held at Egmore Govt Museum on 16-17 March. It will look at Where does Photography Stand Today, and other timely issues with inputs from artists from India, Germany, Singapore, UK and elsewhere.

Chennai Photo Biennale was founded by the CPB Foundation and Goethe-Institut, Chennai in 2016 as a public arts initiative in response to the growing interest in photography in India, specifically in Chennai. The CPB Foundation is a non-profit foundation established to promote the medium of photography through various initiatives, the primary being the Chennai Photo Biennale.

Chennai Photo Biennale commits to marking Chennai on the international map of photography by

  • demystifying the different genres of photography for the common man through large scale exhibitions in unexpected public spaces such as fishing harbours, abandoned factories, walking promenades, beaches, temple areas, popular cultural spots and educational institutions
  • providing exhibition opportunities for Indian and international photographers regardless of class, caste, race, gender, ethnic background or sexual orientation
  • creating mentorship opportunities and providing scholarships for young photographers and curators
  • developing workshops with schools and colleges and other marginalised sections of society all through the year to nurture and expand the understanding of photography
  • exploring the potential of photography by engaging with historical archives and contemporary practices
  • encouraging meaningful socio-political discussions through talks and symposiums
  • publishing photobooks in print and electronic formats
  • disseminating knowledge through screenings of films, thought provoking projections and guided walks that form an integral part of any biennale’s itinerary

As a month long event, the 1st edition of the Biennale in 2016 installed photographic works in train stations, public parks and galleries spread across Central and South Chennai. Along with the exhibitions, the Biennale initiated an important dialogue on environmental, cultural and economic issues through mentorship, presentations and films. This first edition of the Biennale welcomed over 100,000 visitors.