Gulammohammed Sheikh: Lecture series

Josheen Oberoi shares a note on an upcoming series of talks by Gulammohammed Sheikh in the United States

New York: New Yorkers are in for a treat next week. Gulammohammed Sheikh will be in town presenting a talk “Visualizing the Ramayana” at the Rubin Museum of Art. This is the first of five talks he will give in the US over the next few weeks.

An influential painter, writer and art historian, Gulammohammed Sheikh taught art history and painting for nearly three decades at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda. He was born in 1937 in Surendranagar, Saurashtra in Gujarat and received his Master’s degree in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the MS University in Baroda. He was a visiting artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, US in 1987 and 2002, a Writer and Artist in Residence at the Citivella Ranieri Centre, Umbertide, Italy in 1998 and at the South Asia Regional Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia in 2000, and at Montalvo, California in 2005.

Read more about him and his artistic practice here.

His schedule of lectures:

March 18, 7 pm, Rubin Museum, New York
Title: Visualizing the Ramayana

March 21, 4.30 pm, Georgetown University, Washington D.C
Title: Among Many Cultures and Times

March 25, 6 pm, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Title: Visualizing the Ramayana

March 27, 4.30 pm. Duke University, Durham, NC
Title: Walking the World: Mappings

April 4, 5.30 pm, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Title: Walking the World

Web of Stories: Gulammohammed Sheikh

Anika Havaldar of Saffronart reflects on a new series of autobiographical videos on one of the leading figures in the world of Indian art

Gulammohammed Sheikh in a still from the video ‘Developing my work, Hockney & Kitaj’

Mumbai: From his first solo exhibition in 1960 to the present day, Gulammohammed Sheikh, a recipient of the Government of India’s prestigious Padma Shri award for his contributions to the arts, has become a major contributor to the world of Indian art. As an active artist, poet, critic and professor, Sheikh has encouraged the development of the arts in India in myriad ways, including his critically acclaimed collection of surrealistic poems ‘Athwa’, his theorizing of the narrative-figurative tendency in contemporary Indian art, and over three decades of teaching art history and painting.

In a series of seventy videos on Web of Stories, an online archive of thousands of autobiographical video-stories, Gulammohammed Sheikh weaves together personal anecdotes, ruminations, and influences, to share with his viewers the unique vantage point from which he views the art world.

In his video on developing his own work and the artists David Hockney, and R.B. Kitaj, Sheikh speaks of his time at the Royal College of Art in London (from where he graduated with an MFA in 1966). Entering the RCA just as Hockney and Kitaj graduated, Sheikh talks about dealing with an artistic cul-de-sac at a time where London was buzzing with stories of Hockney and his artistic endeavors. While he remembers enjoying Hockney’s works, Sheikh describes an immediate affinity with Kitaj’s works, from which he derived inspiration to experiment with collages and which he compares to Godard.

The other videos in the series, also recorded in 2008 as conversations with the British artist Timothy Hyman, describe Sheikh’s life and work from his earliest years to the latest monograph published on his life.

Click here to watch the video.

K G Subramanyan (1924 – 2016): A Tribute to the Master Artist

Subramanyan was one of the leading artists who was part of India’s post-Independence search for identity through art. A writer, scholar, teacher and art historian, he was prolific in his art, spanning the spectrum of mediums from painting to pottery, weaving, and glass painting. He believed in the value of Indian traditions and incorporated folklore, myth and local techniques and stories into his work.

Read more ›


Kanika Pruthi of Saffronart shares details about AAA’s upcoming Annual Fundraiser Auction in Hong Kong

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New York: The Asian Art Archive is a Hong Kong based initiative which  provides a platform for the research, writing and understanding of the history of contemporary art in Asia. It aims to re-imagine the role of an archive and to address the expanding space of the global narrative in art history. They are committed to creating a collection of resources for the public which is accessible to the masses, facilitating research on existing material and also encouraging new ideas and creative endeavours through their programs.

AAA’s Annual Fundraiser Auction serves as a major source of support for its programs, activities and aims to raise funds to extend its global reach, expanding the educational potential of the archive and redefining the way worldwide audiences learn about contemporary art.

This year the auction features 74 works of art, generously donated by galleries and artists from around the world. The works can be viewed from 21-25 November at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. Online bidding is open from 8-29 November and the live auction will take place on 30 November, 2013.

Among the many international artists featured this year, works from established and emerging artists from the Indian sub continent are included in the auction. These include Gulammohammed Sheikh, Atul Dodiya, Nalini Malani, Rajorshi Ghosh, Tanya Goel, Aditi Singh, Aisha Khalid and Huma Mulji.

Selected works can be viewed in the slideshow accompanying this post and the full auction catalogue is available online.

‘Let The World In’ A New Two-Part on Indian Contemporary Art

Emily Jane Cushing recommends a two-part film on contemporary Indian art entitled ‘Let the World in’. 

Detail from the film’s poster with paintings by Sudhir Patwardhan (left) and Gigi Scaria (right) Image credit:

Detail from the film’s poster with paintings by Sudhir Patwardhan (left) and Gigi Scaria (right) Image credit:

London: A new two-part film, titled ‘Let the World in’, directed by Avijit Mukul and produced by Art Chennai, intends to document the evolution of contemporary visual art in India spanning three generations of artists and their work dating from the 1980s to the present day.

The premiere of the film was held at the National Film Archive of India in Pune on the 7th of June; and it is now travelling to film festivals in the UK from the 13th-14th and returning to India for its debut in Mumbai and Delhi.

Untitled, Arpita Singh, 2002

Untitled, Arpita Singh, 2002. Image Credit:

The film intends to document the depth and diversity in contemporary Indian art by outlining “the artists’ concerns reflected in their work, tracing it down to the present day,” according to the press release. The first volume begins discussing the monumental 1981 exhibition “Place For People” in Delhi and Bombay, in which a group of artists conveyed through their work and engagement with locality, class and politics and further touching on how younger artists have been impacted by the inherited legacy of this movement. Central characters in the first volume include artists Arpita Singh, Gulammohammed Sheikh and Vivan Sundaram; inputs are also heard from influential art critic Geeta Kapur and the late Bhupen Khakhar, a co-artist and close friend.

A Theory of Abstraction, T.V. Santhosh, 2001

A Theory of Abstraction, T.V. Santhosh, 2001. Image Credit:

The second part of the film focuses on practitioners such as Shilpa Gupta, Atul Dodiya and T.V. Santosh; major political and social changes in India make up the backdrop of the beginning of this volume. Issues such as the liberalization of the Indian economy and the funding of dangerous religious extremist that ensued and also the lack of sophisticated educational practices in Indian artistic establishments are all topics that contribute to the setting of the second volume.

The film also conveys the new Indian artistic generations preoccupation with the past and engagement with history; one of the films main goals is to re-ignite to public consciousness the significant role played by the senior generation of Indian artists who were dedicated to forming their unique artistic styles in previous times.

If you are in Cambridge on 20 June, then you can view the film at 17:30 pm at the Center for South Asian Studies; more information here.

For details of the multi-city screening schedule, visit the film’s Facebook page. The DVD will be released shortly.

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