Indian Art Circle 2013/14 Lecture Program

Ambika Rajgopal of Saffronart shares a note on the upcoming series of lectures at SOAS.

London: Department of Art & Archaeology of the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, kick starts the Indian Art Circle lecture series starting on the 3rd October 2013. This monthly seminar spans over the year and provides a cohesive and comprehensive look into the visual culture of India.

The series goes right up to June 2014 and hosts a number of notable speakers. Some of the speakers include Richard Blurton, Curator of South and Southeast Asia at the British Museum and Jerry Losty, Curator Emeritus at the British Library.

With lectures on topics as diverse as ‘Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple’, ‘The Iconography of the Ass-Riding Goddess in Hindu Myths of Chaos, Misfortune and Disease’ and ‘North-Indian (kundan) goldsmithing’, this lecture series hopes to enlighten and inform those interested about Indian visual practice.

The first lecture in the series commences on the 3rd of October 2013 and will be Pepita Seth’s ‘Heaven on earth: The Universe of Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple’ at Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London.

All meetings will be followed by reception.

Indian Art Circle logo. Image Credit: IAC, SOAS

Indian Art Circle logo. Image Credit: IAC, SOAS

Schedule:

Thursday 3 October

Pepita Seth (Independent Scholar, Kerala)

Heaven on earth: The Universe of Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple

Khalili Lecture Theatre – 7 pm

**Please note that this lecture will take place in the lecture theatre on the Lower ground floor of the Main SOAS Building, opposite the Brunei Gallery

Wednesday 6 November

Dr Konrad Seitz (Independent Scholar)

Orchha not Mandu, 1592 not 1634: A revolutionary view of ‘Malwa’ Painting

B102 – 6.30pm

Wednesday 4 December

Dr Fabrizio Ferrari (Professor of Religious Studies, University of Chester)

The Iconography of the Ass-Riding Goddess in Hindu Myths of Chaos, Misfortune and Disease

B111 – 6.30pm

Wednesday 15 January

Saskia Konniger (Associate Researcher, National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden)

The Hidden Garden: North-Indian (kundan) goldsmithing, the repositioning of a craft in the face of past and present global dynamics.

B104 – 7 pm

Wednesday 12 February

To be confirmed

B104 – 7 pm

Wednesday 5 March

Professor Adam Hardy (Professor of Asian Architecture, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University)

The Temples of Ashapuri: resurrecting a Pratihara/Paramara site in Madhya Pradesh

B104 – 7 pm

Wednesday 2 April

Richard Blurton (Curator, South and Southeast Asia, British Museum)

Some further thoughts on the image of Shiva Nataraja

B104 – 6.30 pm

Wednesday 7 May

Jerry Losty (Curator Emeritus, British Library)

The 16th Annual Toby Falk Memorial Lecture

Codex Casanatense 1889: an Indian 16th century album in a Roman library

B102 – 6.30 pm

Wednesday 4 June

Laxshmi Greaves (PhD student, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University)

A series of figurative terracotta panels from the Gupta period Śiva temple at Ahichhatra, Uttar Pradesh.

B104 – 6.30 pm

For further information about the lecture series, please visit the IAC website.

East of India: Forgotten Trade with Australia

Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart shares a note on an exhibition currently on view at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney

East of India: Forgotten Trade with Australia

East of India: Forgotten Trade with Australia. Image Credit: http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=2116

London: The Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney is currently hosting the exhibition, “East of India: Forgotten Trade with Australia”.

Seringapatam Painting

Seringapatam Painting. Image Credit: Australian National Maritime Musem

The exhibition visually narrates past colonial links between Australia and India, the power of the English East India Company and its decline, as well as the modern ties between the two countries. Textiles, coins, ceramics, prints, movies and many other items bear witness to these long lasting links between the two countries, and form the bulk of the display.

"Star Pagoda" Coin, Gold, India, c.1790-1807

“Star Pagoda” Coin, Gold, India, c.1790-1807. Image Credit: Australian National Maritime Museum

A majority of the objects on display (over 300) have been borrowed both from Australian and international collections such as those of the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Collection in the United Kingdom.

Death of Munro, Glazed Earthenware, Staffordshire, c.1830

Death of Munro, Glazed Earthenware, Staffordshire, c.1830. Image Credit: Australian National Maritime Museum

Below you can enjoy one of the videos from the exhibition’s section, “Contemporary Connections”, which discusses the issue of identity for Indian-Australians.

The exhibition will remain on view until August 18, and you can find more information about the show here.

Light from the Middle East: New Photography at the V&A (13 November 2012 – 7 April 2013)

Guest blogger Saranna Biel-Cohen shares highlights from Light from the Middle East: New Photography, at the V&A in London

London: This exhibition is a collaboration between the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum and a result of a grant given by The Art Fund in 2009 enabling the museums to collect contemporary Middle Eastern photography. You can read more about the grant on the Art Fund’s website. This is the first major exhibition of contemporary photography from and about the Middle East, featuring 30 artists from 13 countries in the region and in the diaspora. The exhibition is divided into three sections, RECORDING, REFRAMING and RESISTING, referencing the intention and styles of the medium.

RECORDING : Photography can accurately document an event, people or place and can be commemorative or historic. The exhibition later calls into question the reliability of the image by juxtaposing historical snapshots to staged or manipulated images.

The exhibition opens with veteran Iranian photojournalist, Abbas’ black and white series Iran Diary, documenting events during the Iranian revolution.

Abbas, 'Rioters burn a portrait of the Shah as a sign of protest against his regime. Tehran,December 1978', from the series Iran Diary, 1978-9, courtesy V&A

Abbas, ‘Rioters burn a portrait of the Shah as a sign of protest against his regime. Tehran,
December 1978′, from the series Iran Diary, 1978-9, courtesy V&A

Mehraneh Atashi captures aspects of Iranian life not often seen outside the country (and sometimes even inside). She visited a zurkhana, an Iranian wrestling gym, a place usually forbidden to women. She includes her own image in the composition, framed by portraits of religious figures.

Mehraneh Atashi, 'Bodiless I', from the series Zourkhaneh Project (House of Strength), 2004, courtesy V&A

Mehraneh Atashi, ‘Bodiless I’, from the series Zourkhaneh Project (House of Strength), 2004, courtesy V&A

Abbas Kowsari, originally a photojournalist and better known as the Senior Photo Editor for the Tehran-based newspaper E’temad, photographs a peshmerga, a Kurdish combatant in northern Iraq. The soldier’s face is excluded from the shot, and the subject in the image seems to be the face printed on his t-shirt- Canadian rock singer Bryan Adams, a juxtoposition of warfare and western popular culture.

Abbas Kowsari, Halabche, 2003, courtesy V&A

REFRAMING: Artists also use photography to reference known images, reworking them to make a personal, social or political statement. Inspired by iconic fashion photography, Moroccan born photographer Hassan Hajjij explores western consumerism alongside traditional values. His frames are made of recycled materials, giving a sculptural element to his work.

Hassan Hajjaj, Saida in Green, 2000, courtesy V&A

Between 1989 and 2004, Lebanese born Walid Raad worked on a project titled The Atlas Group, a fictional archive documenting the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990). The project includs text, video, installation and photography. This particular work from the series shows notebook pages from the fictional historian named Dr Fakhouri. This character kept a log of every car that was used as a car bomb during war. Read more about Walid Raad.

Walid Raad, Notebook Volume 38: Already Been in a Lake of Fire (Plates 63–64), 2003 courtesy V&A

RESISTING: Artists in this section demonstrate that photography can be manipulated, and truth in the medium is called into question. These artists also explore and expand the use of the medium through digital enhancement, processing techniques and modifications made to the print itself.

Iranian born Taraneh Hemani downloaded mug shots from a US government website just after 9/11. The printed faces are blurred and scratched so the individuals are no longer recognizable, a commentary on western stereotypes of Muslims.

Taraneh Hemami, Most Wanted, 2006, courtesy V&A

Egyptian photographer Nermine Hamman was taken by the events of Tahrir Square in Cairo, January 2011. The army was called in to respond to the protests, and she noticed the young soldiers and their vulnerability during this crisis. She imagined them anywhere but Cairo and superimposed them into vibrant, fantastical settings, recalling and rejecting the propaganda posters of young soldiers during World War II and communist propaganda images.

Hermine Hammam, ‘The Break’, from the series Upekkha, 2011, courtesy V&A

To learn more about the exhibition, click here. Also watch this video.

Guest contributor Saranna Biel-Cohen lives and works in London. She holds a Master’s Degree in History of Art from University College London with a focus on Modern Indian Art.

Exploring Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire at the British Library

Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart in conversation with Malini Roy, curator of the current Mughal exhibition at the British Library, London

Mughal India Art, Culture and Empire, British Library, London

Mughal India Art, Culture and Empire, British Library, London

London: On display at the British Library until April 2013, ‘Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire’ celebrates the Mughal empire for the first time in its entirety, from its beginning to its eventual decline (1526-1858).

The exhibition, divided thematically, explores the rich cultural heritage the Mughals left  in the fields of art, architecture, literature and science, and it also celebrates the patrons that made these innovations and discoveries possible.

I had the pleasure of meeting Malini Roy at the British Library and asking her few questions about the exhibition.

Malini Roy, Curator of Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire, British Library, London

Malini Roy, Curator of Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire, British Library, London

Q: The exhibition Mughal India covers the entire Mughal period for the first time. Why did you decide to cover the entire period and not just focus on a certain aspect or time frame?

A: I decided to focus on the whole Mughal Period because no one really looks at the entire period. Also, my interest and research is on the late Mughal Period and I wanted to include it in this exhibition and the British Library has an extensive collection covering the entire period.

Q: How many works are on display? What is their provenance?

A: There are circa two-hundred works on display. Most of them are from the British Library Collection, the rest are from institutions and museums’ collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the British Museum (London), the Royal Asiatic Society (London), the Bodleian Library (Oxford), the India Office Library Collection (London) and the Royal Collection (Windsor).

Q: What are the highlights of the exhibition? What is the most significant work for you?

A: There are many highlights of the exhibition [which you can enjoy in the slideshow at the end of the interview] so it is quite difficult to choose a few. Personally I really like “A Panorama of  Delhi by Mazhar ‘Ali Khan”. It is an impressive five meter long painting showing the Delhi panorama drawn from the view point of the Lahore Gate of the Red Fort. Also, the playful “Squirrels in a Plane Tree” is one of my favourite works.

A Panorama of Delhi by Mazhar 'Ali Khan. Image Credit: © The British Library Board

A Panorama of Delhi by Mazhar ‘Ali Khan. Image Credit: © The British Library Board

Squirrels in a plane tree. Image Credit: © The British Library Board

Squirrels in a plane tree. Image Credit: © The British Library Board

Q: At the beginning of the year the Ashmolean Museum presented ‘Visions of Mughal India: The collection of Howard Hodgkin’, and the Fondazione Roma Museo is currently showing: ‘Akbar: The Great Emperor of India’. Now the British Library is hosting ‘Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire’. It is evident that there is a great interest in Mughal India. What is your opinion on this?

A: The interest in Mughal art and culture has been constant. It is one of the most celebrated periods of Indian history. However the last exhibition dedicated to the entire Mughal Period dates 1982 and was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum: ‘The Indian Heritage: Court Life and Arts under Mughal Rule’. So we wanted to remind people of our collection of Mughal miniatures and show these fine works of art.

Q: To whom is this exhibition directed? How many visitors are you expecting? How has the response been so far?

A: Traditionally, British Library exhibitions attract traditional museum visitors. However we have had a quite diverse audience so far, many art and primary school students came to see the exhibition. The response has been very positive, we had very positive reviews from newspapers, art magazines  and the exhibition is listed as one of top exhibitions at the moment in London. And we are definitely meeting our target with an average of 360 visitors per day.

Q: What is the main message behind this exhibition?

A: I wanted to showcase the wonderful collection the British Library has and that people don’t know about and also celebrate some the greatest patrons of Indian art and architecture that created some of finest artworks which still witness their grandeur. Also since now the interest seems to be more on modern and contemporary Indian art I wanted to bring the Mughals back under the spot light.

Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire is definitely a must see if you are in London. The exhibition will make you experience traditional Mughal life during your visit and educate you through superb works of art.

More information on the exhibition can be found on the British Library website. Below you can enjoy a slideshow of highlights from the exhibition.

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Dr. Malini Roy is the Curator of Visual Arts at the British Library. Her field of research focuses on later Mughal painting and Company paintings produced during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century in the provinces of Awadh and Bengal as well as at the Mughal capital of Delhi.

 

Highlights from the Exhibition Akbar: The Great Emperor of India

Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart shares a few notes from her visit to the Mughal exhibition in Rome

London: Last week we posted about the exhibition, Akbar: The Great Emperor of India. I had the opportunity to visit this exhibition, and I wanted to share few thoughts and images from the show.

Even though Italians are well known for being very proud of their cultural and artistic heritage, this time I felt a great effort has been put in curating the present exhibition and especially in introducing Indian culture and history to Italian audiences.

The space hosting the show has been transformed in order to resemble the structure of a traditional Indian building. Jalis and Islamic arches are used to divide one room from the other, and Indian music and scents complete the atmosphere and help visitors immerse themselves in a new and fascinating art and culture.

The exhibition mostly includes miniatures, textiles and jewellery from important international private collections and museums such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the National Museum in New Delhi.

Hopefully this show will trigger a deeper interest for Indian art and culture in Italy as well.

Below you can enjoy a slideshow of images from the exhibition.

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