The Body In Indian Art

Ipshita Sen of Saffronart introduces The Body In Indian Art, one of the exhibitions part of Europalia- India in Belgium

New York: Whether it is physical culture, dance, adornment, yoga, Ayurveda- no civilization has had a fascinating interpretation and thorough understanding of the Body as India.

A Late Gupta Mask in Silver from Al Sabah, Kuwait.

A Late Gupta Mask in Silver from Al Sabah, Kuwait. Image Credit:

Indian art uses a unique framework to examine and represent the intricacies of the body. Curator Naman Ahuja invites the viewer to explore the essential elements of the Body and what drives Indian bodies. Ahuja aims to answer questions such as where do society’s archetypes of heroism and valour rest? What motivates abstinence and asceticism? How does a civilisation view the rites of passage, death, and birth? To what extent do Indians believe that the body’s fate is destined / predetermined, and to what degree is fortune in the hand of those people who shape it for themselves?

An Egg Symbolising the Universe by Subodh Gupta.

An Egg Symbolising the Universe by Subodh Gupta. Image Credit:

Belinder Dhanoa, editor of the catalogue for the exhibition, says that the exhibition  “reveals the body not only as the subject of art, but also as the medium used to convey the values, preoccupations and aspirations of the times. Through sculpture and painting we’re going to showcase visualizations of concepts as diverse as the ascetic, the heroic and supernatural bodies; and display artworks that examine and record some of the philosophical and aesthetic threads that run through the centuries. Through art, the body will be shown as a site for defining individual identity, constructing sex and gender ideals, negotiating power, and experimenting with the nature of representation itself.”

A Painting on Display at "The Body of Indian Art" at Europalia 2013.

A Painting on Display at “The Body of Indian Art” at Europalia 2013. Image Credit:

The exhibition thus takes one on a journey from death to rebirth, forces of fate to power of human action and much more, encapsulating themes of religion, aesthetics, philosophy, and cosmology.

Surasundari, a Sandstone Sculpture from Indian Museum, Kolkata.

Surasundari, a Sandstone Sculpture from Indian Museum, Kolkata. Image Credit:

Go discover the 250 enchanted treasures of ancient India from temples, tiny provincial museums, archaeological institutes and private collections in the pursuit of discovering the multifaceted complexities of the Body.

The exhibition is on view as part of Europalia-India at the Centre of Fine Art in Brussels until January 5, 2014. More information about this captivating exhibit can be found here.

Yoga: The Art of Transformation

Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart shares a note on the forthcoming exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington

London: The Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery will be hosting from October 19th, the first exhibition entirely dedicated to the art of yoga, perhaps one of the most popular practices at the moment.

Yoga: The Art of Transformation. Image Credit:

Yoga: The Art of Transformation. Image Credit:

The exhibition visually traces the history of yoga from its beginning to its modern practice. More than 120 artworks including sculptures, paintings, photographs and films shed light on the obscure history and tenets of yoga and its masters. The show attests the diffusion of yoga between the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sufi faiths and their shared goal of transforming the body and mind through the yogic practice.

The works on display which date from the 3rd to the early 20th century are categorized in four sections explicating the different stages of the history of yoga: Tantra, The Path of Yoga, Yoga in the Indian Imagination 1570-1830 and Modern Transformations.

Among the highlights are 10 folios from the first illustrated anthology of asanas (yogic poses), the movie “Hindoo Fakir” directed by Thomas Edison in 1906 and 3 statues of Yogini from a 10th century Chola temple.  The works showing in the exhibit were borrowed from 25 museums and private collections based in India, Europe and the United States.

You can enjoy below a sneak peek of some of the exhibition’s highlights:

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Make a note on your diary that the exhibition will be on from the 19th of October 2013 until 26th of January 2014. I am looking forward to it!

To learn more about Yoga: The Art of Transformation, visit the Smithsonian website and read here.

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