Sajan Mani

Field of Practice:



Solitude fellowship

City, Country:

Kannur, India

Berlin, Germany


2020, 2021


Apr 2021 - Sept 2021


Sajan Mani, photo: Billie Clarken

Born in Kannur/India in 1981.

Sajan Mani is an intersectional artist hailing from a family of rubber tappers in a remote village in the northern part of Keralam/India. Sajan’s work voices the issues raised by the marginalized societies of India, with the help of the ›Black Dalit body‹ of the artist. Mani’s performance practice insists upon embodied presence, confronting pain, shame, fear, and power. His personal tryst with his body as a meeting point of history and present opens onto ›body‹ as socio-political metaphor.

Several of Mani’s performances employ the element of water to address ecological issues particularly related to the backwaters of Keralam, as well as to the common theme of migration. His recent works consider the correspondence between animals and humans, and the politics of space from the perspective of an indigenous cosmology. His work Unlearning Lessons from my Father (2018), made with the support of the Asia Art Archive, excavates the artist’s biography in relation to colonial history, botany, and material relations.

Sajan Mani has performed at the Srinagar Bienniale Basel/Switzerland (2018), at Specters of Communism – A Festival on the Revolutionary Century at the museum Haus der Kunst, Munich/Germany (2017), at Musrara Mix Festival, Jerusalem/Israel (2017), Kampala Art Bienniale, Kampala/Uganda (2016), Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka/Bangladesh (2016), Sensorium-Sunaparanta Center for Arts, Goa/India (2016), Kolkata International Performance Arts Festival, Kolkata/India (2015) and at the Vancouver Bienniale, Vancouver/Canada (2014). He has participated in various residencies including New Art Exchange, Nottingham/UK, Delfina Foundation, London/UK and Heritage Hotel Art Spaces, Goa/India.

Mani is a recipient of the Braunschweig Projects scholarship from the Braunschweig University of Art (2019–2020) and his work has been shortlisted for the Lucas Artists Program scholarship at Montalvo Arts Center, Sartoga/USA, among other fellowships. In 2021, Sajan Mani received the Berlin Art Prize in the visual arts section.

Sajan Mani, photo: Billie Clarken