Browsing: Art

Contemporary Indian art, antiquities from South Asia & noted artists from India and Pakistan.

5 Indian Art: Reviving the Miniature with Olivia Fraser

“What I find remarkable is that miniature painting is so intrinsic to Indian art history but it seems as though Indian artists and Indian art schools have decided to be just colonized by the West and Western art traditions instead,” says Olivia Fraser.
” All the most important Western-born twentieth century art movements: cubism, abstractionism, modernism, post-modernism have been successfully encouraged and developed here but miniature painting has been relegated to the dusty shelf of ‘craft’ – something that is stuck in the aspic of tradition and has no developmental, political or aesthetic possibility of change.”

2 Artists of the South Asian Diaspora

India, Pakistan, Bangladesh…migrants from towns and villages, leaving everything behind to create something new, something of their own in America.

It’s all about journeys, about the lives you leave behind and the new ones you make. We’ve all got into a plane, left a place and arrived somewhere else. The baggage we’ve carried is physical things – loved old photographs and mementos, homemade garam masala – but it’s also about memories, lost homes and loved ones who are no longer with us.

The way artists deal with this excess baggage and physical and mental borders is through paint and canvas, creating a new reality which did not exist before. For the past ten years, IAAC’s ‘Erasing Borders: has been giving this space to artists to share their creations and their innermost thoughts, and this year too artists participated in this long lasting celebration of home and the world, as more and more artists take on the global trek.

0 India – Angry Young Women, Unchanging World

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Annu Palakunnathu Matthew is an America-based artist who grew up in Kerala. In the late 1990’s she made a portfolio titled Satirizing Bollywood, about her memories of her life as a woman in India. She calls it her ‘Angry Woman’ years. Misogyny and a patriarchal society existed then, and as the recent gang rape and unending cases of abuse of women prove, nothing much has changed. Now two decades later, Matthew has taken on the subject again.

2 SAWCC: The World of South Asian Women Artists

Fifteen years ago an art exhibition in New York was presented by a nascent organization called South Asian Women’s Collective (SAWCC). The exhibition was appropriately enough called (un)Suitable Girls. Fast forward fifteen years and I’m once again at an art exhibition, this time called ‘Her Stories’ commemorating 15 years of SAWCC. It presents the creative works of more than 100 diasporic South Asian women artists, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, and writers, with an installation of archival photographs, publications, and ephemera.

0 Roberto Custodio: It’s All About Reincarnation

What is art exactly? In a throw-away world where material things lose their value all too soon, the Brazilian artist Roberto Custodio celebrates art as reincarnation, art as renewal of the spirit. Old, discarded magazines become the building blocks of his art, as he picks and chooses images and bits and pieces of different worlds to juxtapose a totally new reality, a fresh take on things.

A ragpicker of the soul, Custodio creates a gorgeous puzzle of tiny shards from different lives and invites you into a whole new universe. His earlier work from found and discarded publications brought into existence a whole pantheon of Hindu Gods from Brahma and Shiva to Krishna and Kali. Now in his latest exhibition ‘Your Royal Highness’ he turns his attention to powerful women from queens to courtesans – and yes, even a maharani.

0 Princes & Painters in Mughal Delhi – Last Look

“Delhi was once a paradise,

Where love held sway and reigned;

But its charm lies ravished now

And only ruins remain.”

So wrote Bahadur Shah Zafar, poet and art patron, the last of the great Mughal emperors, as the mighty empire of his forefathers dissolved and the new rajahs arrived in town, the East India Company traders who were fast evolving into the new Colonial masters.
Those times are long gone, and Delhi, the spunky never-say-die city which re-invents itself after each invasion, is thriving once again.

0 Meet the Master Painters of India

Modern day iconic artists like the late MF Husain, FN Souza or Tyeb Mehta are the rock stars of the Indian art world and you see their celebrity status reflected at art biennales and gallery openings, and in the high prices their work commands in the auction houses. They are the superstars, the rajas of any social event, the focal point of international culture. Everyone knows their name.

Yet there is another set of artists who never achieved fame in their lifetime, and whose names no one knows. We are talking of the superb master painters who lived and worked from 1100 to 1900, who rarely signed a canvas with their own names, and who lived and died in anonymity.
They created some of the most magnificent works for emperors, maharajas and the nobility, and yet today no one knows their names or faces.

0 Tracking Anonymous Indian Master Artists

“We want to give a sense, an understanding that these works produced by anonymous craftsmen in dimly lit backrooms – these were very creative individuals responding to a particular place and time and their response to the subject matter and the demands of their patron – all those things went into the mix.” Curator John Guy, Metropolitan Museum of Art

10 Roberto Custodio: Finding God

Who has ever seen the face of the Almighty? Does He wear a peacock feather in His hair or perhaps a coiled snake around His neck? Is the Omnipresent a many-armed powerful Goddess with green eyes or a gentle, golden Madonna and Child?

East and west blend in the surreal works of Brazilian artist Roberto Custodio in which blue-eyed Gods and beauty queen goddesses preside, and the flora and fauna of many continents merge. He creates magic worlds from found materials and paper clippings, discarded consumer magazines which he recycles to create his own truths.

0 When Vishnu came to the Brooklyn Museum

Want to make some spiritual gains and rub shoulders with Gods and Goddesses? The place to go for darshan is the Brooklyn Museum because here you get to meet not one, not two but all ten avatars of Vishnu, Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior.

“Vishnu – one of Hinduism’s most important and powerful deities – is the Great Preserver, vanquishing those who seek to destroy the balance of the universe,” writes Joan Cummins in ‘Vishnu – Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior.’ Indeed, the time looks ripe for Vishnu’s avatar to come to earth…

A chat with Joan Cummins, who is the Curator of South Asian art at Brooklyn Museum.

3 Indian Contemporary Art – Tips for Collectors

Are you a lover of contemporary Indian art who always thought collecting art was beyond your means?
Did you think you’d have to mortgage your house – and sell your soul – to obtain an MF Husain?
Were you always intimidated by the art auctions which seemed so elitist and such a closed club?
Well here’s Anu Nanavati Chaddha, Director of Saffronart in New York, to show the path to newbie collectors and to answer all the questions you had about contemporary Indian art – but were afraid to ask.

3 M.F. Husain – Death of an Icon

M.F. Husain – Goodbye to an Icon. (September 17, 1915 – June 9, 2011)

The great artist died of a heart-attack in London, far from his homeland of India. He was a giant of the contemporary Indian art world and there are as many colorful stories about him, about the controversies swirling about him, as there are unmatchable pieces of art which encapsulate the complexities of India. New York gallerist and collector Kent Charugundla shares some untold stories about the flamboyant artist. Join in sharing your comments and memories of M F Husain.

1 Asian Contemporary Art Week 2011 – Art’s Heart

Imagine a room full of women, prostitutes, lowest of the low. They are faceless – without an identity, without a future. They are created out of found objects, the flotsam and jetsam of society.
Their heads are fashioned out of jars, their breasts are jars shaped like voluptuous melons– after all, aren’t women objects? They lack hands, and some even their lower limbs, they have no standing in society. Clad in flashy underwear and gold heels, they are what they wear, sexual objects in an uncaring society.
And yet to stand in that small room with these life-sized, lifeless women was to feel their presence and their pain. It seemed almost a community. Iranian artist Shirin Fakim’s women were just one vignette of the recent Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW)

0 Indian & Pakistani Contemporary Art, Together

A precursor to Asian Contemporary Art Week in NY, a recent group show: India and Pakistan may have been geographically birthed on the same subcontinent but they are relentlessly apart as nations. It is a question of so near – and yet so far. Once one people, they are now so far apart that can one understand the mindset of The Other?

Yet, art by Indian and Pakistani artists hung side by side in the Aicon Gallery in Manhattan – perhaps there were not even six degrees of separation between these canvases.

Looking at these powerful works of art one would be hard-pressed to say which artist was from India, and which from Pakistan. This only goes to prove that at heart, the dreams, the hopes and the fears are the same…

2 Ricardo Mazal, Life, Death on Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash, Tibet’s holiest summit, gives lessons in life – and death. It can even inspire people who have never seen it. Mexican artist Ricardo Mazal was mesmerized by the images and took a trip, one of the most difficult he’s ever attempted, to do the ‘Kora’ or pilgrimage which is a 33 mile trek around the peak, and is undertaken by Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Bonpos alike.

It is believed that 108 rounds of Mount Kailash can lead to nirvana. The Kora became a pilgrimage for Ricardo Mazal to unearth larger truths about life and death.

1 Asian Art Week Love Fest

Sometimes you buy a piece of contemporary Indian art and get a love story too in the bargain! Cinq Sens (Five Senses) by M. F. Husain is a powerful work originally gifted by the artist many, many years ago to film director Roberto Rossellini and his Bengali wife, Sonali Dasgupta.
It was a love match he helped bring about, for at that time Rossellini was married to the noted actress Ingrid Bergman and Sonali was the wife of a documentary film-maker in Calcutta. The painting is estimated at $500,-700,000 and is being auctioned by Sotheby’s, and here’s the story behind it.UPDATE – IT SOLD FOR $782,500

0 Malleable Memory: How True is Truth?

We are a simmering bundle of the past, the present and our hopes and anxieties about the future – what we remember and what we choose to forget becomes the world around us. Memories often trespass from locked rooms and forbidden places in the mind into the present. Some of them become the scaffolding for art, for the truths artists want to share through their work. Yet seen through the distancing telescope of memory, how true is truth?

1 Indian Contemporary Art, The Comeback Kid

Contemporary Indian art is certainly the comeback kid if the March auction results at Christies, Sotheby’s and the online auction house Saffronart are any indication. The sales revealed a healthy appetite amongst collectors for buying the best of Indian modern and contemporary art after the slowdown experienced immediately after the economic downturn.

4 Ayesha Durrani’s Women

“Women have this idea of Prince Charming sweeping them off their feet and saving them from all evil and then living happily ever after,” says artist Ayesha Durrani. ” I object to this idea of women being helpless and needing to be saved. We grow up dreaming of that prince saving us from all evil and we develop into helpless needy people. We never allow the woman to grow up as a strong, intelligent person who can take care of herself and make her own decisions. Especially in the Subcontinent, women are completely dependent on their Prince Charming – who might not be that charming after all!”

6 Contemporary Indian Art Rakes in Millions

Recession? What recession?

An untitled painting by M.F. Husain just sold in auction in New York for over a cool million dollars – $1,058,500 to be exact, over five times the estimated price. ‘Gestation’ by H.S. Raza, which was estimated at $600,000 – 800,000, fetched $ 1,202,500. An untitled Manjit Bawa sold for $602,500, double the pre-sale estimate.

Contemporary Indian art is certainly the comeback kid if the auction results at Christies, Sotheby’s and the online auction house Saffronart are any indication.