The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts, holds the most important collection of modern Indian art outside of India. Works now on view in a new exhibition explore how Indian artists grappled with identity during and after revolution. More than 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs and personal correspondence trace the history of India — from its colonial period through its independence in 1947 — and the rise of a vibrant modern art movement.
Artists helped define the country following the Indian Independence Movement. They developed a visual language that was uniquely Indian and were inspired by the specificity of their cultural experience as well as in their personal struggles, ambitions and dreams.
“These works represent a time when Indians began to visualize themselves as modern artists grappling with swift societal and cultural change,” observes Siddhartha V. Shah, PEM’s Curator of South Asian Art. More than 60 paintings from PEM’s Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection, including works by M.F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta, and Nalini Malani, explore spirituality, conflict, urbanization, poverty and the role of revolutionary women in establishing a new nation.
Among these works is Husain’s Mahabharata series of paintings, which reimagines the historic Sanskrit epic through a modern lens. An accompanying digital frieze tells the story of the battle between two factions of the same family, brother against brother and cousin against cousin. Husain looked at the myth as a metaphor for India’s Partition. If any of these concepts of identity and inclusion seem all too familiar to Americans today, Shah says that is no accident.
The original vision of India was of unity in its diversity, says Shah, much like the United States. “But the reality today is a greater feeling of division,” he says. “We at PEM have a responsibility to keep these conversations going, especially as stewards of this important collection.”
For more information, visit pem.org.
South Asian Art continues at the Peabody Essex Museum (East India Square, 161 Essex Street, Salem, MA) through October 1, 2022.
“What does it mean to arrive from a country with a fascist regime?” asks Russian dissident artist Victoria Lomasko.
In the wake of Mahsa Amini’s death at the hands of “morality police,” artists and filmmakers across the world are voicing their support for protesters in Iran.
Artists reflect on histories of oppressive power structures in Brazil in this exhibition at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
The 200-year-old instrument, housed in the Library of Congress, has not been played by anyone else until now.
Though roiled by antisemitism allegations, 738,000 people attended, a modest 17% decline from the previous, pre-pandemic edition.
From exhibition catalogue pages marketed as original prints to brazenly fake “authorized” copies of Harings and Warhols, we’re living in a golden age of art piracy.
Ultimately the legacy of the classic modernist novel may reside in how attentively and scrupulously it concentrates on the music of tentative, shambolic, open-ended urban lives.
Funding options at UB include full-tuition scholarships for MFA students, the Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship Program, and additional opportunities for MA students.
More than 100 modest and intimately scaled artworks in Still Life and the Poetry of Place provide glimpses into interiors, both humble and opulent.
Gladman’s poems suggest how ecological knowledge can affect how we can imagine cities.
With Moonage Daydream, director Brett Morgen sought to let Bowie’s music and philosophy hit in a whole new way, immersing audiences in an IMAX experience.