Convergence: Contemporary Art from India and the Diaspora

Shradha Ramesh summates a curatorial note by Professor Kathryn Myers

New York : “Convergence: Contemporary Art from India and the Diaspora” an exhibition held at the William Benton Museum, University of Connecticut (14 October to 15 December 2013) is visual entourage of Indian Modern and Contemporary art.This exhibit encapsulated a different perspective on Indian art, with artworks dating from 1940’s to the present.

Aptly titled, the oeuvres of fifteen artists with different stylistic rendition converge under one roof. Each one of these artists set out on their own creative expedition to explore a common issue of identity and the continued power of place in the current global scenario. While inquiring the conundrums of identity and place the exhibition walked through a vast expanse of repertoire ranging from photographs to new media.


Image courtesy Benton Museum. Convergence: Contemporary Art from India and the Diaspora”, 2013, installation view.  William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut.

Image courtesy Benton Museum.
Convergence: Contemporary Art from India and the Diaspora”, 2013, installation view.
William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut.

A combination of emerging and internationally recognized artists adds a new visual narration.The list of artists has stalwarts like Madhvi Parekh, Waswo X. Waswo , Ravi Agarwal, Anupam Sud ,Sanarth Banerjee, Siona Benjamin, Neil Chowdhury, Sunil Gupta, Hanuman R. Kambli, Bari Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Sachin Naik, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, along with  young emerging artists such as Sujith SN, and Avinash Veeraraghavan, are ensemble of contemporary Indian art. These artists are of Indian origin, of which nine artists are from India and the rest six live and work from United States and London.



Image Courtesy: Connecticut Suresh Playing Hanuman, from the series  A Studio in Rajasthan (2007–present). Black-and-white digital  Print

Image Courtesy: Connecticut
Suresh Playing Hanuman, from the series
A Studio in Rajasthan (2007–present). Black-and-white digital

Professor Kathryn Myers’s  passion and love for Indian art and culture that started in 1999, has transpired into a fine curatorial collection at the museum.According to Professor Myers, the concept “ “Convergence” emphasizes  how works of art continue to act as key avenues through which we increase our knowledge of and more fully invest in the world we inhabit.” One can experience this each of their works. Creating a strong link between Indian Art and education Professor Myer’s has played a pivotal role in compiling this collection.  Her collaboration with the William Benton Museum sowed the seeds for the first Indian Modern Art exhibit in 2004 called Masala: Diversity and Democracy in South Asian Art. The exhibit had 250 works of traditional, folk, popular, and contemporary art that filled three gallery spaces of the museum.  While “Convergence” is a contemporary sequel to “Masala” that revisits select work of the collection and also introduces audience to artists.

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Indian Printmaking Exhibition at NGMA Bangalore

Tarika Agarwal of Saffronart on an exhibition in Bangalore that documents trends in Indian printmaking over the last 100 years

Bangalore: The National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore, has organized a month-long exhibition on Indian printmaking in the city. The exhibition opened on April 28, 2013, and will continue till the end of May.

The exhibition is titled ‘Between the Lines’, and has been curated by Lina Vincent Sunish, an art historian from Bangalore. The exhibition is mainly based on Indian prints from the private collection of Waswo X. Waswo that document the trends in Indian printmaking over the last 100 years. Waswo is an artist hailing from Wisconsin, USA, who now lives in India, and has a special interest in Indian printmakers and their work.


The opportunity to view works from a private collection is bound to raise interest within art circles. Art collectors are the ones who ultimately drive the market as well as dictate future trends. When an public institution as important as the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) decides to go ahead with an exhibition displaying a private collection of Indian prints, be assured that it will be a comprehensive show as well as a learning experience.

The exhibition tells the complete story of Indian printmaking through a variety of printing techniques on display, including etchings, lithographs, woodcuts and serigraphs. Programs have been designed to help the general public as well as artists and students understand Indian history through these prints. What makes the show a ‘must-visit’ is the timeline of the collection. While some of the prints date back to 1917, the more contemporary prints count some as recent as 2012. There are about 152 works by 79 artists displayed from the collection.

This exhibition was first held at the Visual Arts Gallery of the India Habitat Centre in Delhi, which we blogged about here. It is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue titled ‘Between the Lines: Identity, Place, and Power – Selections from the Waswo X. Waswo Collection of Indian Printmaking‘.

Between the Lines: Identity, Place, and Power

Sneha Sikand of Saffronart on Waswo X. Waswo’s private collection of Indian printmaking exhibited at India Habitat Centre

Untitled, Somnath Hore
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Fishing, Haren Das
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New Delhi: The Visual Arts Gallery recently exhibited Waswo X. Waswo’s private collection of prints. An avid collector of etchings, woodcuts and lithographs, Waswo’s prints range from a 1916 hand-coloured drypoint etching by Mukul Dey to works by newer artists like Durga Prasad Bandi and Kurma Nadham.

A photographer by profession, Waswo was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (U.S.A.). He went on to study photography in Italy, and after traveling extensively around the world settled in India in 2001. His collection of prints is not so much a historical or chronological evolution of printmaking in India, but more so a personal association with the imagery of the country he creates within his mind.

Villagers of Selaidah visiting Rabindranath Tagore, Mukul Dey
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The exhibit has been curated by Art historian, Lina Vincent Sunish who has carefully picked out the works which went on display from Waswo’s vast collection. The aim of this exhibit was not so much to delve into the technicalities of printmaking, but more so to emphasis on how the medium is used to depict images from everyday life.

There are over seventy-nine artists whose works have been exhibited as part of the collection. The art of printmaking emerged in Bengal which is why one sees several early works by Bengali artists, with later works coming out from other art hubs such as Baroda. The collection will be exhibited at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru later this year.

Read more about prints on Waswo X. Waswo’s blog: Collection of Indian Printmaking