New Delhi, March 9 -- In 2011, India announced that it would participate in the Venice Biennale for the first time in the art event's storied, 116-year history. Art critic and curator Ranjit Hoskote was tasked with producing a national pavilion. It was titled "Everyone Agrees: It's About To Explode". The exhibition, like the theme, was tentative.

After this late arrival to the global art party, India was a no-show in the next edition in 2013. Indian artists have been occasionally invited to participate in the Biennale's other sections, and this continued to happen. In 2013, for instance, the German pavilion showed the works of photographic artist Dayanita Singh; the idea was to question the basis of identity. Speaking to me later, Singh sa...