RECENT


NOTICEBOARD

Sheetal Gattani: Flying Below the Radar, with 50 Layers of Pigment
by Gayatri Sinha
The haptic processes that Gattani employs on painted surfaces lend her work a tantalizing depth and luminosity.

24 Nov 2022

Stories of Resistance from the Margins: Bani Abidi’s The Song
by Shaon Basu
Abidi's new body of work speaks of global dispossession and homelessness, and the toxic masculinity at the heart of the crisis.

24 Nov 2022

What’s Going Wrong with Thanjavur’s Chola and Maratha Legacies?

Even as cinema screens light up to Chola supremacy, their material heritage needs urgent attention.

24 Nov 2022

Drawing Dissent: The Evolution of Editorial Cartooning in India
by Neha Yadav
With their potential to speak truth to power, political cartoons in the print media represent the last stand in a severely compromised media landscape.

22 Nov 2022

A Great Friend of India: Robert Skelton (1929-2022)
by Gulammohammed Sheikh
From their first meeting at the V&A in the 1960s, Gulam Sheikh reminisces about the legendary museum curator and scholar of Indian art, with whom he shared a six-decade-long friendship.

25 Oct 2022

Reimagining the Mahad Satyagraha in the Age of Google Maps
by Pawanpreet Kaur
Rajyashri Goody’s Is the water chavdar? explores the relationship between water and caste with a spirit of of defiance.

25 Oct 2022

Blurring Boundaries, Revealing Patterns
by Nadia Nooreyezdan
Ayesha Sultana’s latest show, Making Visible, offers a quiet interrogation of form and space across different mediums.

25 Oct 2022

Infinity: Continuity Interwoven
by Chitra Mahesh
A review of the recent show in Chennai titled Infinity: Continuity Interwoven, in which artists present a synthesis of traditional handicrafts and contemporary aesthetics.

25 Oct 2022


art history


CINEMA/OTT

Dravida Pride or Hindutva Nationalism: The Problematic Rhetoric of Ponniyin Selvan: I
by Sreya Mitra
On the increasing popularity of South Indian cinema against the recent boycott and failures of Bollywood. (2022)

On Prime Time: In Conversation with Vinay Shukla
by Mallika Visvanathan
Vinay Shukla’s documentary explores the world of news reportage on television through the lens of the career of journalist Ravish Kumar. (2022)

Natchathiram Nagargiradhu and Rene: A Kintsugi by Pa. Ranjith
by Manju Edachira
The essay examines Pa.Ranjith’s criticism of caste differences through the portrayal of love in a world beyond discriminatory practices. (2022)

Bengal’s Queen of Screen tragedy
by Beharilal Aggarwal
The article traces the life and success of actress Anubha Gupta, who became widely acclaimed for her intensely emotional portrayal of women in Bengali cinema. (1953)

The Afterimage of a Star: Puneeth Rajkumar and Fan Cultures of Memorialization
by Madhavi Shivaprasad and Mallika Visvanathan
On Puneeth Rajkumar’s first death anniversary, the essay explores memorialization by fans in Bengaluru. (2022)

Telugu Cinema’s Legacy Issues
by S.V. Srinivas
Looking at the feudal idiom and the industry’s domination by ‘film families’, Srinivas examines patriarchy and stardom in Telugu cinema. (2022)

Star of the Stream: Sobhita Dhulipala and the New Star-Texts of OTT India
by Darshana Sreedhar Mini
Dhulipala's career exemplifies the mobility of the stars of regional cinema as well as the shift from the big-screen to OTT platforms. (2022)

Tamil Cinema: Yesterday and Today
by A.V. Rajagopal
This piece looks at the history of Tamil Cinema, highlighting the golden age of the 1950s and 1960s. (1995)


Lens Based Practices

The Suburban Fortress and Images of Migration Workers against the Suburban Landscape in Covid-19
by Tanya Maheshwari
Juxtaposing images of workers during Covid-19 and the idealist imagery of the suburbs.

Protest on the Grid
by Jahnabi Mitra
Abul Kalam’s use of Instagram to document and share images of the Rohingya refugee crisis allows for an examination of the photo-sharing platform as a site of protest.

‘Capturing’ the Qudsia Bagh: Decoding the Colonial Lens
by Yakin Kinger
On the 1858 photograph of Qudsia Bagh by Felice Beato, the essay unpacks the place of photography as a tool of colonial propaganda.

Museum of Making Memory: Conjuring the Ghosts of the Photo Studio
by Anuja Mukherjee
The Photo Studio documents its own history, to become a site of haunting. (2022)

Between the Named and the Unnamed: A Photographic Lens for Bharatanatyam
by Kuzhali Jaganathan
Underlying the photographic archive of Bharatanatyam lies the erasure of its practitioners. (2022)

An Archaeology of Pictorial Desire: The Archives of the Jadavpur University Photographic Club
by Sourav Sil
The archives map the rise and fall of Pictorialism. (2022)

Lights, Camera, Transition: Gamak Ghar and Barah by Barah
by Rituparna Sengupta
Reflecting on the act of photography in two fiction films.

Resisting Melancholy: Filing the Real in Dayanita Singh’s File Room
by Shankar Tripathi
Tripathi examines the series of photographs as a quagmire of indifference in the life of ordinary Indians. (2022)


CC ARCHIVES

Correspondence between Gulammohammed Sheikh and Robert Skelton (1966-1994)

In the rich exchange of letters between Sheikh and Skelton, we are given insights into Skelton’s travels and research in Indian painting.

Recalling Ramkinkar - artist and man
by K G Subramanyan
Recollecting personal experiences of engaging with Ramkinkar, Subramanyan traces the artist’s life, career and the spaces and people who influenced him. (1991)

Picture Showmen
by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy
Tracking the figure of Picture Showmen, Coomaraswamy uses historical evidence to contextualise this performance-based practice in the subcontinent. (1929)

Modern Indian Painting
by B C Sanyal
Renowned painter B.C. Sanyal’s reflections on the way in which modern art in India has been shaped and has changed in the country over time. (1968)

Renaissance of Art in Gujarat
by Ratan Parimoo
The essay contextualises the early modern art scene of Gujarat while describing the individual practices and approaches adapted by certain key artists. (2004)

The Life and Times of India in the Nineteenth Century
by Aradhana Thakur
An exhibition on company paintings at the National Museum, Delhi, brings together works that explore themes of life in the everyday, portraits of kings, princes, and the natural world.

Tendencies of Modern Indian Art
by Benoy Kumar Sarkar
In the context of the 17th Annual Exhibition of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Professor Benoy Kumar Sarkar opines on the trends in Modern Indian Art in Bengal. (1926)

The Art Born of Crisis
by Sandip Sarkar
Mapping trends in contemporary Indian art, the author sheds light on Calcutta as a site of inspiration and the generations of artists it facilitated. (1976)

MUSEUMS

'Renovations' at Jallianwala Bagh

Gurmeet Rai speaks to Gayatri Sinha about the changing attitude to monuments and memorials, Jallianwala Bagh and issues facing the revamping of Sabarmati ashram.

Objects and Their Journeys: In Pursuit of the Provenance of Things
by Jyotindra Jain
The author explores the rising debate around the restitution of cultural heritage, the ethics behind collecting practices in museums and the evolving definition of “provenance” in this context. (2021)

Interview with the curatorial team of the SCO Virtual Exhibition in National Museum, Delhi
by Critical Collective
On the pioneering virtual exhibition showcasing the shared Buddhist heritage of the SCO countries. (2021)

Jane Lombard Prize 2020-22 for Avni Sethi and The Conflictorium Museum
by Sandhya Bordewekar
The writer makes the case for spaces that open up histories of individual and collective trauma. (2020)

"We need to find new ways of engaging the public imagination"
by Critical Collective
Tasneem Mehta speaks to CC about museum and conservation practices in the face of a global lockdown. (2020)

Framing the Grand Historical Narrative of Indian Cinema
by Damini Kulkarni
The NMIC frames cinema less as an art form and more as a national legacy, writes Kulkarni. (2020)

A Tryst with History
by Arundhati Chauhan
A survey of cultural projects and initiatives announced in the last few months that suggest a move afoot to overhaul India’s museums sector. (2020)

The Supreme Court Museum
by Ketaki Varma
"The museum traces the history of jurisprudence alongside a history of India itself," writes Ketaki Varma. (2020)


Curators and Exhibitions

Astonishment of Being
by Deeksha Nath
The author explains how the aim of the exhibition is not to be a passive experience but "an active engagement with the world as we see it and as we’d like to see it change". (2010)

Under the Aegis of Poetry: Art Beyond Language
by Arushi Vats
Curated by Zeenat Nagri, the exhibition What Cannot Otherwise Be Said welds poetic imagination with resistance.

Drawing as Practice: On Modes of Inhabiting Line and Surface
by Najrin Islam
In the exhibition Drawn from Practice II, held at Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata, the act of drawing is addressed as a performative medium unto itself.

A Philatelic Journey through Babasaheb’s Life
by Sukanya Baskar
A variety of ephemera from the postal world such as stamps, first day covers and information brochures enrich the visual representation of Dr. BR. Ambedkar and his public persona.

A Century of the Artist’s Studio: 1920-2020
by Virginia Whiles
On the theme of artist studios, the author reviews the “ambitious global exhibition” consisting of more than 100 works by over 80 artists and collectives at Whitechapel Gallery.

The Rough Draft of History: Printmaking through Crises
by Arushi Vats
Review of 'Living a Dark Night'. (Gallery Espace, February 12-March 23, 2022), which enlists the tradition of reportage in art-making to reflect on experiences of the global pandemic.

Ai Weiwei: The Liberty of Doubt
by Virginia Whiles
A review of Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, which focuses on “small pieces that raise the issues of authenticity and value through his own versions of traditional forms.”

Colomboscope: Language is Migrant

Natasha Ginwala and Anushka Rajendran speak about the seventh edition of Colomboscope, Sri Lanka’s contemporary art festival, featuring over fifty artists.


artists

Contextualizing Madhvi Subrahmanian's Sculptures in Clay in a "Global Cultural Economy"
by Priya Maholay-Jaradi
On the artist's work in the context of cross-cultural exchanges within a global economy. (2010)

In Conversation with Sumantra Mukherjee (Sunnydewall)
by Brishti Modak
Working with street and studio art, graffiti artist Sumantra Mukherjee speaks about his recent exhibition Mass-Q-Line, in which he questions forms of toxic masculinity.

On Cruising : 1960s Delhi and Communities of Belonging
by Katyayani Sinha and Gayatri Sinha
In conversation with Sunil Gupta. The acclaimed photographer speaks about his practice that has consistently explored questions of sexuality and identity.

Concrete Ciphers: Pratap Morey
by Meera Menezes
On the interplay of puzzle games and architectural elements, as they reveal subtle shifts in our urban landscape over time and point to possible futures. (2019)

The Shadow in the Mirror: Anju Dodiya and the Reflective Gaze
by Gayatri Sinha
On the reflective nature of Anju Dodiya's work, and how it necessitates an expansion of the notion of the self. (2015)

Human Hauntings in the Art of Somnath Hore
by Brishti Modak
A review of Somnath Hore's centenary exhibition, curated by K.S. Radhakrishnan, which perfectly captures the magnitude of the artist’s oeuvre and contribution as a pedagogue.

Through an Iconoclast's Shredder
by Rita Datta
A review of Abhishek Hazra's show Between Repetition and Reticence at Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata, as it takes to task Bengal's socio-cultural parameters and pretensions with a grim sense of humour. (2020)

Injurious Forms: Review of the staging of Bharti Kher's Strange Attractors
by Subha Mukherji
On Bharti Kher's recent show at Nature Morte, Delhi, where eight sculptures capture Kher’s "dizzying range of skills with media and matter."


Artists Groups and Collectives

Drifting Threads: Cholamandal Artists’ Village over fifty years
by Ashrafi S Bhagat
Ashrafi Bhagat traces the past, present and future of the Cholamandal Artists' Village in Chennai.

How to Feel a Leak?
by CAMP
CAMP elaborates on their work, THE RADIA TAP(E)S as part of The Ungovernables, New Museum, New York Triennial (2012).

CONA: Points of Reflection
by Hemali Bhuta
Hemali Bhuta on the founding of CONA as a pedagogical structure for artists.

New Group: In conversation with Amitava Das and Mona Rai at New Delhi, April 23, 2014

Amitava Das and Mona talk about the formation of the New Group in 1974.

The Calcutta Group - Its Aims and Achievements
by Prodosh Das Gupta
Prodosh Das Gupta highlights the premise of founding the Calcutta Group in 1940.

Indian Society of Oriental Art
by James H. Cousins


Artists Conversations

Today is Better than Yesterday: In Conversation with Surekha
by Mallika Visvanathan
Surekha speaks about her recent works displayed at 1Shanthiroad, Bengaluru, made in response to the feelings of stagnation and loss which characterized the first waves of Covid-19.

Pieces of Home: In conversation with Tanmoy Samanta

The artist discusses his latest series of works created in the midst of the pandemic, which reconsider the ideas of home and earthly existence, using pigment, rice paper and shape-shifting collages.

In conversation with Ravi Agarwal

CC speaks to artist Ravi Agarwal about the relationship between art and ecological activism in informing the curatorial vision of his recent exhibition 'New Natures: A Terrible Beauty is Born'.

In Conversation with Randhir Singh

On photographing buildings across Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, as part of “The Project of Independence: Architectures of Decolonization in South Asia, 1947-1985,” at the MoMA.

Breathing Life into Dust: Interview with Artist Amol K. Patil

A Prince Claus awardee, and selected for documenta 15 in 2022, Amol K Patil on the significance of ‘dust’, the politics of touch and making the invisible, visible through his practice.

“Loneliness of the Great”
by Ella Datta
Ella Datta speaks to A. Ramachandran on his latest suite of drawings on Gandhi.

The Afterlife of a Photograph: Devashish Gaur speaks to Critical Collective

Recipient of the Sharjah Art Foundation’s inaugural prize for Vantage Point Sharjah 9 (VPS9), Devashish Gaur on the “intergenerational exploration of identity” in his practice.

In Conversation with Jitish Kallat
by Critical Collective
I draw therefore I think with artists from 29 countries is launched by South South projects. Curator Jitish Kallat speaks to speaks to CC about Charles Darwin's 1837 Tree of Life sketch as an inspira


ON GENDER

Women and the Nation in Pushpamala N
by Mallika Visvanathan
Pushapamala speaks about symbols like Mother India as well as the play with the tableau and the archive in her work.

Woman in Didactic Fable and Popular Tale in Sanskrit
by Leela Arjunwadkar
The portrayal of women in Sanskrit literature varies from idealised images to prejudiced depictions, as well as realistic representations of the expectations placed upon them by society. (1984)

Indian Women and Public Life
by Sarwari Jahan Abdul Karim
The essay advocates for the rights of women to participate in all forms of public life: nationally and internationally. (1935)

Woman in the Sculpture of the Deccan, An Artistic Study
by G. Yazdani
Drawing examples from the caves of Bhaja, Karle, Ellora and Palampet, Yazdani enumerates the aesthetic merits of sculptures depicting the female form. (1942)

Sati in Vijayanagara
by K. Sarojini Devi
On the act of Sati performed by the women of Vijayanagara in the medieval period gathered from epigraphic materials and witness accounts of foreign travellers.

Shilpakalar Panch Nayika - Five Leading Women in Fine Arts
by Atanu Basu
A translation of Atanu Basu’s essay on the lives and works of the first all-female artists collective in Bengal called ‘The Group’, which consisted of Meera Mukherjee, Karuna Saha, Shanu Lahiri, Santosh Rohatgi and Shyamasree Basu. (1983)

Global queens, national celebrities: tales of feminine triumph in post-liberalization India
by Radhika Parameswaran
A critical analysis of the cultural impact of Indian pageant queens on India's consuming classes as interwoven with the new liberalization of the economy and the popularizing print culture in the 1990s and early 2000s. (2004)

Haya Nari: A Charger of Damsels
by O.C. Gangoly
On the unique imagery of the Haya Nari, a composite figure of milk maidens twisted into the shape of a horse in Odiya Vaishnavism and the influence of tribal and folkaesthetic sensibilities in its composition.


AESTHETICS THEORY

Anandavardhana's Treatment of Aprastutaprasamsa
by P. K. Narayana Pillai
The essay discusses the degree of novelty in Anandavardhana’s theory of dhvani, and the rhetorician’s opinions regarding the contributions of his successors towards the theorization of dhvani. (1957)

A Critical Survey of the Ancient Indian Theatre Accordance with the Bharata Natyasastha and its Commentators
by Subba Rao
Construction of ancient Indian theatre, as propounded in Bharata's Natyashastra is interpreted in an objective manner by comparing the theoretical with the practical aspects. (1953)

An Outline of Indian Aesthetics
by Nagendra
On the various speculations pertaining to the nature of Beauty in the Indian context and the contribution of Indian poetics and philosophy in its formulation. (1934)

The Dynamism of the Indian Concept of Rasa
by K S Ramaswamy Shastri
On the concept and origin of Rasa in Indian aesthetics and the development of its elements. (1935)

Some Modern Critics and Ancient Texts on the Aesthetic Value of Hindu Images
by N.V. Mallavya
On the aesthetic and iconographical aspects of ancient Indian sculpture as outlined in the Agamas and Shastras. (1942)

Anandavardhana’s Treatment of Pratibha in Relation to Dhvani
by K. Krishnamoorthy
On the concept of Pratibha or creative imagination brought about by the agency of Dhvani. (1950)

Peculiarities in the Alamkara-Section of the Agni-Purana
by Suresh Mohan Bhattacharya
On the unique modes of treatment accorded to Alamkara and its constituent elements in the Agni Purana. (1960)

Studies in Dhvanyaloka, the Adivakya in Dhvanyaloka
by V.A. Ramaswami Sastri
On the importance of dhvani in communicating the essence of emotion inherent in poetry and drama. (1955)



CURATING SOUTH ASIA

Parvez's performative gestures:The subversion of the capitalist art economy
by Deeksha Nath
The author writes on performance and lens based artist Parvez’s seven month long project in Switzerland questioning the presumptions around audience interaction and the sites of art presentation.

Restless Creations: Adeela Suleman's Art for Social Change
by Virginia Whiles
Virginia Whiles speaks with sculptor Adeela Suleman on her use of found objects and dark humour in her work, as a way of exploring social and ecological violence, tragedy and censorship in Pakistan. (2021)

Positionings
by Salima Hashmi
With Bani Abidi's nomination for the Böttcherstraße prize, Salima Hashmi writes on a generation of Pakistani women artists' work "as a site for mutinous content and personal empowerment.” (2020)

TANTRA: Enlightenment to Revolution
by Virginia Whiles
The author reviews the ongoing exhibition at the British Museum through a ‘socially distanced’ critique, following online talks and exchanges with colleagues. (2020)

Contesting and coalescing voices from Dhaka Art Summit
by Mustafa Zaman
In its 5th edition, DAS invited the voices of different communities, giving them a chance to articulate in their own terms, the legacies of colonial/postcolonial modernity. (2020)

Lahore Biennale: ‘between the sun and the moon’
by Virginia Whiles
The second Lahore Biennale stages a polyphony of artistic voices weighing in on the shared cultural and political history of South Asia and the Middle East. (2020)

Bani Abidi: Funland

Curators Hoor Al Qasimi and Natasha Ginwala on a major survery of Bani Abidi's works exhibited at Sharjah Art Foundation. (2019)

Sharjah Diaries | In Conversation with Nidhi Mahajan
by Gayatri Sinha
The curator on her installation-performance "Silences and Spectres of the Indian Ocean." (2019)


CC Books

Modernism/Murderism: Remembering a ‘Forgotten Debate’ on Modern Art!
by Sandhya Bordewekar
The book looks at the debate on Modern Art between Pherozeshah Rustomji Mehta and Jyoti Bhatt, from the pages of Kumar.

Readings on the Temple: Review of Marg's 75th Anniversary Volume
by Pika Ghosh
This review focuses on a volume of Marg's archival essays on the evolution of temple-building, iconography and worship in India.

Moving Beyond Pain: Review of Vasudha Thozur’s Diaries, Projects, Pedagogy
by Meera Menezes
Conceptualised as “montaged text and image documents”, the book provides insights into Thozhur’s painterly concerns and thought processes.

Review of 20th Century Indian Art (2022)
by Sandhya Bordewekar
The book traces almost 150 years of art historical events that informed the evolution of Modern, Post-Independence and Contemporary Art across South Asia.

Review of Incredible Treasures: UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India
by Gautami Raju
The book gives an overview of 38 sites in India, ranging across man-made structures and natural wonders, that have been honoured with a UNESCO heritage tag.

Looking through the Portal: Photographs, Lives, Histories
by Ranu Roychoudhuri
Review of Portal: The Curious Case of Achintya Bose (2020)

Art and Trousers by David Elliott
by Parul Dave Mukherji
On Elliott’s sweeping look on “how contemporary art unfolds in different parts of the world,” through the liet motif of trousers.

Solvyns in Bengal
by Critical Collective
Solvyns' views of late 18th century Bengal delight in a comprehensive book and exhibition by DAG.


CC REFERENCE

Crafting Cultures at Good Earth: An Interview with Anita Lal

Anita Lal, the first Indian to collaborate with Christie’s on their design collection ‘Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds’, talks about the cusp of geography and culture that inspires her work.

Nila House - A Vision in Indigo
by Critical Collective
A generous studio-workshop-gallery space, Nila House is currently host to the Corona Quilt Project installation.

The future of India’s past

An overview of projects undertaken to create and recreate cultural and material heritage in India.

On Gandhi in the Gallery: The Art of Disobedience
by Roobina Karode
Roobina Karode in conversation with art historian and curator Siva Kumar, artist Ravi Kumar Kashi and Sumathi Ramaswamy on Gandhi, his image and its legacy in contemporary art. (2021)

DOUBLE ACT
by Shivani Kasumra
Two parallel group shows by four galleries folds in the stirrings of our present, where art steers one beyond the foreclosures of finitude--of space, time, and imagination. (2021)

Cinema and the “Art” of Archiving
by Amrita Chakravarty
A look at contemporary art projects that draw on the archive of cinema as a source of alternative histories. (2021)

Abanindranath Tagore and the creation of a Regional Avant-Garde
by Partha Mitter
In Abanindranath Tagore's sesquicentennial year, Partha Mitter makes "a bold claim that he created a regional Asian expression of avant-garde art whose implications are still unfolding”. (2021)

A Fragile Inheritance: Radical Stakes in Contemporary Indian Art
by Saloni Mathur
On culture and politics of decolonization and the role of non-Western aesthetic avant-gardes within the discourses of contemporary art. (2020)