Mother Bank artist talk for Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2 February 2023

“The Soil Assembly”
Kochi-Muziris Biennale
1-5 February 2023

Kochi-Muziris Biennale presents ‘The Soil Assembly: Ecologies, Circularities and Living Pedagogies” in partnership with Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore India. “The Soil Assembly” is an international gathering of plants, microbes, humans, fungi, algae, seeds, and other practitioners in the web of life, emphasizing the importance of (bio)diversity and the interconnectedness of all living beings.

As part of the assembly Ismal Muntaha, Bunga Siagian and George Clark presented the ongoing Mother Bank project as a performance lecture in context of series of presentations on “Living Projects & Communities.”

Here is an overview of our contribution from Julian Chollet:

The first round of afternoon presentations was dedicated to the topic “Living Projects & Communities” and started with an initiative from Indonesia, called “Motherbank”. Ismal Muntaha, Bunga Siagian and George Clark presented the idea to achieve financial autonomy and collective action through leadership by the mothers of a community. More than just an alternative bank, the project succeeded in increasing the self-sufficiency of the local food production and created a regional market to exchange the surplus. Residencies and other events that were organized by the members of the Motherbank itself, acted as a tool for empowerment as well as a method to spread the practices into other parts of Indonesia. Moreover, from an initiative of the participating mothers, a band was assembled which is now touring through the country. The discussion circled around the importance of supporting rural communities and making them more resilient against the effects of climate change on the one hand and the violent pressure of industrialization on the other.

Julian Chollet, ‘Highlights from Kochi Biennale: Soil, Sustainability, and Community at The Soil Assembly,’, 22 March 2023

Thanks to curators Ewen Chardronnet, Maya Minder, Neal White and Meena Vari for invitation to share our project and learn from the many great projects brought together over the course of “The Soil Assembly”.