Two of a Kind: F N Souza and Lancelot Ribeiro

F N Souza, the “enfant terrible” of modern Indian art, hardly needs an introduction. His less known half-brother, Lancelot Ribeiro, might. As two paintings from important phases in their artistic careers go on auction in June, we look at intersections in their life and art.

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Before the ‘bindu’, there was Bombay

As a rare watercolour of Bombay by Raza goes on auction in June, we look at how the city influenced and inspired the artist.

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Living Between Tradition and Modernity

Saffronart is excited to announce its April auctions dedicated to two important lifestyle defining categories.

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Wynyard Wilkinson on ‘Silver from the Indian Sub-Continent 1858-1947’ at Saffronart

Emily Jane Cushing shares a note on a talk given by Wynyard Wilkinson at Saffronart in London

Wynyard Wilkinson introducing the evenings event.

London: On Wednesday 15 May, before the preview of the new Saffronart exhibition ‘Silver From the Indian Sub-Continent 1858-1947’ author and Antique silver specialist Wynyard Wilkinson held an informative discussion on the decorative nature of the silver articles on display.

Wynyard Wilkinson describing ‘Cutch’ style silverware.

Despite the many aspects of silver production during the colonial period in India, given the diverse nature of decorative designs varying from region to region, Wilkinson touched on all the key styles. He noted the aesthetic features and purposes of various pieces, and underlined the relationships between geographical areas and designs, also noting that various regional designs often inter-link.

Wynyard Wilkinson discussing Kashmiri style silverware.

First, Madras “Swami Ware” was taken in to account. Wilkinson noted that despite the fact that ‘swami’ designs exhibited fine and intricately detailed ornamentation of Hindu deities and mythological figures, the style was a huge success in Europe and Great Britain. The most frequently depicted deities in this genre are Vishnu and Brahma riding their vahanas, or associated animals.

Bangalore Silver 'Swami-ware' Three Piece Tea-set by Krishniah Chetty c. 1900. http://www.saffronart.com/fixedjewelry/PieceDetails.aspx?iid=35977&a=

Bangalore Silver ‘Swami-ware’ Three Piece Tea-set by Krishniah Chetty
c. 1900. http://www.saffronart.com/fixedjewelry/PieceDetails.aspx?iid=35977&a=

After the Madras region, the discussion turned to Cutch silver, known for its attractive patterns of scrolling foliage intertwined with animals, birds and hunting scenes. The Cutch style was the most venerated Indian silverware in the late 19th century. Wilkinson particularly noted the resemblances to 17th century Portuguese pottery decorations, and distinctive similarities in the depiction of animal and bird figures with Persian decoration.

Next, Wilkinson focused on Kashmiri silver, highlighting the shawl pattern in particular. Taking inspiration from the prevalent Kashmiri weaving industry, this pattern illustrates vines of blossoms and leaves amid and between flowing scrolls; these scrolls sometimes lack detailing as to accentuate the distinction between the floral and the scroll aspects of the pattern.

Kashmir Parcel Gilt Set of Four Finger Bowls and Plates in 'Shawl' Pattern c. 1900. http://www.saffronart.com/fixedjewelry/PieceDetails.aspx?iid=35971&a=

Kashmir Parcel Gilt Set of Four Finger Bowls and Plates in ‘Shawl’ Pattern c. 1900. http://www.saffronart.com/fixedjewelry/PieceDetails.aspx?iid=35971&a=

Wilkinson then moved on to silverware produced in Lucknow. Designs from this region are most commonly recognized for their use of two patterns, the ‘jungle’ and the ‘hunting’ pattern. These patterns feature, although not to scale, forests of palm trees containing both animal and male figures, and bold male figures on elephant back pursuing wild animals or competing in sporting activities.

Lucknow Silver Swing-handle Basket in 'Hunting' Pattern c. 1890.  http://www.saffronart.com/fixedjewelry/PieceDetails.aspx?iid=35991&a=

Lucknow Silver Swing-handle Basket in ‘Hunting’ Pattern c. 1890. http://www.saffronart.com/fixedjewelry/PieceDetails.aspx?iid=35991&a=

The eclectic diversity of the silversmithing in Bombay, as a result of immigrant artisans from many regions of India who brought with them a wide range of design and decorative influences, was also discussed. Wilkinson noted, when discussing specific pieces, the use of domestic picture design by Bombay artisans, as a conscious move away from Cutch style foliage designs.

To conclude his informative talk, Wynyard Wilkinson drew the audience’s attention to two unique oversize examples of Indian colonial silverware on display. First, a large hand-rinsing fountain produced in Cutch in 1910, and, second, a voluminous two-handled vase crafted in Madras in 1890.

The exhibition will be on view till May 31, 2013, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday to Friday, and Saturday by appointment at Saffronart, London.

The catalogue may also be viewed online.

BMW Guggenheim Lab: Mumbai

Medha Kapur of Saffronart shares a note on the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s latest outpost in Mumbai.

BMW Guggenheim LabMumbai: A collaboration between the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the BMW Group, the BMW Guggenheim Lab is a travelling mobile laboratory intended to heighten urban consciousness. This well-meaning project began its journey in 2011 in New York, and will visit eight other cities worldwide. Part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space, the Lab is a global initiative that gets people involved in and inspired about urban planning, art and ideas that will better their environment and community. The project is led by international, interdisciplinary teams of emerging talents in the areas of urbanism, architecture, art, design, science, technology, education, and sustainability.

The theme for the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s first two years is Confronting Comfort. The Lab will explore how urban environments can be made more responsive to people’s needs, how people can feel more at ease in urban environments, and how to find a balance between notions of modern comfort and the urgent need for environmental and social responsibility.

After hitting the streets of New York and Berlin, the Lab arrived in Mumbai in December 2012 and will run through January 20, 2013. Organized in collaboration with the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, the Lab will feature free programs including film screenings, tours, talks, and design projects at the museum and at multiple sites throughout the city.

The Mumbai Lab Team, an international group of experts and innovators, has created a series of projects, studies, and design proposals that reflect Mumbai’s unique conditions and challenges, in addition to neighborhood-specific public programming in satellite locations. The Lab Team includes Aisha Dasgupta, a British demographer based in Malawi; Neville Mars, a Dutch architect based in China; Trupti Amritwar Vaitla, an architect and urban transport designer from Mumbai; and Héctor Zamora, a Mexican artist based in Brazil who works extensively in public space.

Aisha Dasgupta, Neville Mars, Hector Zamora, Trupti Amritwar Vaitla.Image Coutesy: http://www.bmwguggenheimlab.org/

Aisha Dasgupta, Neville Mars, Hector Zamora, Trupti Amritwar Vaitla.
Image Coutesy: http://www.bmwguggenheimlab.org/

Mumbaikars keep an eye out for the activities organised as part of this incredible, interactive venture. In the long run it is very important for us to speak up and think about our city much more!

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