On Gandhi in the Gallery: The Art of Disobedience

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.

22 Apr 2021

Crescendo and Failure: Damien Hirst’s solo exhibition 'Mental Escapology’
by Deeksha Nath
The author reviews Hirst's solo exhibition in Switzerland as a good introduction to the artist's oeuvre but as missing the opportunity to contextualise his practice within 21st century art.

22 Apr 2021

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

22 Apr 2021

Memory and Metaphor: A Conversation with Indu Antony
by Girinandini Singh
Indu Antony speaks to Critical Collective on staged photographs, the popular tropes that she explores and the insertion of queer bodies to question mainstream narratives

22 Apr 2021

Anita Khemka on Photo-documenting Laxmi Narayan Tripathi
by Critical Collective
On International Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31), Anita Khemka writes on her two-decade-long experience photo-documenting Laxmi aka Dr Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, who led the transgender presence

23 Mar 2021

Interview with Sahil Naik
by Critical Collective
Sahil Naik on participating in the fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and his response to the given thematic of the event- the power of a collective commons. (2021)

22 Mar 2021

Interview with Atul Bhalla
by Critical Collective
The artist on our current ecological and water crises and on consolidating his practice in the midst of the pandemic. (2021)

22 Mar 2021

Interview with Student Biennale curators Archana Hande and Vasudha Thozur
by Critical Collective
Curators of the Students’ Biennale speak to CC about working with student-artists and exploring the position of their own practice in the curatorial framework of framework of the exhibition. (2021)

22 Mar 2021

art history


The Mother and the Daughter in a Son’s Story: The Apu Trilogy and Women’s Modernity
by Anindya Sengupta
Interrogating the idea of the secular core of the Apu trilogy through a recursive and empowering reading of the women characters in the films. (2021)

In search of a gestalt in Ray's cinema
by Sayandeb Chowdhury
Taking a broad view of Ray's oeuvre, the author identifies in his practice an "elusive gestalt" that addresses the contradictions of mid 20th century modernity in India. (2021)

‘How Do I Look?’: Looking at what women want in Satyajit Ray’s films
by Madhuja Mukherjee
A reflection on 'feminine' wants in Satyajit Ray's films through subjects of desire, gender and material underscoring the corporeal manifestation of feminine aspirations. (2021)

Adventures of Goopy and Bagha: A Critical Rendering of a Fairy-Tale
by Darius Cooper
The author explores the mythology and symbolism in Ray's children's film as rooted in India’s socio-political narrative. (2021)

The Poetic Reality of Satyajit Ray
by Partha Mitter
Drawing on a 2005 lecture Partha Mitter unpacks the fractals of the musical score, still photographs and film in Pather Panchali, to write of the "poetic realism" that lies at the heart of Ray's practice.

Sovereign Subject: Ray’s Apu
by Geeta Kapur
Kapur's seminal essay on the Apu trilogy, wherein she makes the case of how "the nation tends to appear less as a societal struggle and more as an evolutionary trace in the consciousness". (2000)

Stree on the Streets: Constructing female experience of the city in Marathi films Ajji (2017) and Nude (2018)
by Shreya Venkatraman
Exploring pleasure and aspiration in New Marathi Cinema through female narratives. (2021)

Kung Fu localised: Mobility and identity in Assamese film Local Kung Fu (2013)
by Vaskar Mech
Assamese film Local Kung Fu as a case study in indie filmmaking and identity politics. (2021)

Lens Based Practices

Photography Today
by T. Kasinath
Writing towards the end of the twentieth century, the author laments the general apathy towards photography as an art form. (1988)

On Photography: Between Reproduction and Representation
by R. Nandakumar
On notions of the authenticity of the photographic image and its ontological status. (2003)

Photography as compared to other arts
by Jyoti Bhatt
On the many aspects of photography in India - the differences and the interdependence - between painting and photography. (1992)

When Bodies Leak | On Sohrab Hura’s ‘Spill’
by Najrin Islam
On Sohrab Hura's practice spanning the last 15 years and the contextual entanglement that his image-making reveals. (2020)

Staging the Modern Ruin: Beato’s “Sikander Bagh, Lucknow
by Ateya Khorakiwala
On the socio-political and archiectural aspects within the photograph by Felice Beato. (2013)

"Photojournalism defined in the ways that we know it does not exist anymore" - Prashant Panjiar
by Critical Collective
Prashant Panjiar on the changing landscape of photojournalism in India. (2020)

Shared Solitude
by Gayatri Sinha
Gayatri Sinha speaks to Anita Khemka and Imran Kokiloo on their lockdown suite of photographs, Shared Solitude. (2020)

Coro-Equalizer: My Phone Project
by Suryanandini Narain and Sumiko Murgai Nanda
Presenting Nanda's latest photo essay along with Narain's thoughts on the project. (2020)


Shadow-Lines: Zainul Abedin and the Afterlives of the Bengal Famine of 1943
by Sanjukta Sunderason
On Zainul Abedin’s evocative renditions of destitute subjects in the aftermath of the Bengal famine and his visualisation of rural domesticity. (2017)

The Bengal School of Painting, To-day
by Nihar Ranjan Ray
Nihar Ranjan Ray critiques the “third-generation” of artists who followed the Bengal School masters Abanindranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose and comments on the lack of originality. (1936)

Sketches of Jamini Roy
by Pranab Ranjan Ray
On Jamini Roy’s drawings and their evocation of an ideal image of rural-agrarian Bengal. (1981)

Abanindranath Tagore: A Survey of the Master’s Life and Work
by Mukul Dey
A biographical sketch of the artist’s formative years and his lifelong contributions to the formation of early Modern art in India. (1942)

Intellectuals, the Society and the State
by Mulk Raj Anand
The author argues for the freedom of expression of intellectuals from authoritarian state agencies. (1974)

Kala Bhavan - A Brief Note
by Arundhati Chauhan
A short introduction on the history and legacy of the institution.

Art History and Its Discontents in Global Times
by Parul Dave Mukherji
On the disciplinary crisis in global and Indian art history with the advent of cultural studies.

Ebrahim Alkazi : An Anachronistic Cosmopolitan Nationalist
by Parul Dave Mukherji
Remembering the ambitious visionary, a Renaissance figure whose passion refused to be defined by a single field. (2020)


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)

Demystifying Black Magic

"The museum serves as an important institution to legitimise the overlap of magic, ritualistic traditions and healing practices that form the core of Mayong's cultural history."- Kaustuv Saikia (2020)

Goa Chitra Museum: Preserving an Endangered Way of Life

Supriya Vohra examines a triad of museums preserving Goa's social and cultural history through a collection of everyday objects. (2020)

Curators and Exhibitions

Manisha Parekh: A River Inside (2020)
by Zeenat Nagree
Zeenat Nagree on Manisha Parekh's solo exhibition held at Jhaveri Contemporary earlier this year. (2020)

In Conversation with Raqs Media Collective
by Amrita Chakravarty
The curators of the latest edition of the Yokohama Triennale on thinking art and the exhibitionary through the lens of the spectrum. (2020)

Kochi Biennale in the Time of Covid-19
by Critical Collective
With the 5th edition slated to be held later this year, Rao and Krishnamachari on the challenges of curating in the midst of a pandemic. (2020)

CC Special: An interview with Ravi Agarwal
by Critical Collective
"I believe the world I live in is largely a matter of my own interpretation and perception" - Agarwal on his latest curation for the Serendipity Arts Festival. (2019)

Incubating Practice: Five Million Incidents
by Amrita Chakravarty
A year-long series of art projects at the Max Mueller Bhavan poses questions about the programming of art. (2019)

Back to the Future
by Amrita Chakravarty
An exhibition at the Shrine Empire Gallery engaged the idea of utopia in art practice.

“No Laughing Matter”: The Politics of Satire
by Ketaki Varma
Ketaki Varma reviews Common Course, an exhibition on political cartooning, curated by Roobina Karode.


Sacred Groves and Burnt Offerings: A Short Note on Valsan Kolleri
by Geeta Doctor
The mundane and the mysterious in artist Valsan Kolleri's work, exploring of tradition, ritual and the transcendental in his practice. (1995)

On Track
by Roobina Karode
“The obsolescence of artistic hierarchies as well as [resists] the convenient classification of all art that does not represent the outward appearances of reality as ‘abstract paintings" (2007)

Kalaguru Ravishankar Raval (1892-1977): A bridge between Gujarat and the Bengal Revivalist Movement
by Esther David
On Raval's revival of Indian art in Gujarat and its link to the artistic traditions of Ajanta and Bengal.

Amar Nath Sehgal: Selected Sculptures, Graphics and Drawings 1947-1972
by Laxmi Prasad Sihare
The author sheds light on eminent Indian sculptor Amarnath Sehgal, his choice of media, style, and the role of literary and associative elements in his work. (1972)

Engaging with Different Worlds
by B.N. Goswamy
“…Baswani seems to look at the world through the interstices of her mind” writes Goswamy on the wide range of influences on the artist’s work. (2005)

Why Cross the Boundary [1]
by Kamala Kapoor
On the “vaporous ethereality” of the works of V. Ramesh, the author gives a glimpse into the practice of the artist on her visit to his studio in Visakhapatnam. (2011)

Rini Dhumal
by K G Subramanyan
The author describes Rini Dhumal’s ceramic tiles while discussing the artist’s flexibility throughout mediums and an all pervading graphic sensibility. (1997)

Archives of Compressed Time
by Amanda Sroka
“Goel's planes are scores of the artist's movements and metaphorical blueprints of the city's architecture,” Sroka on Tanya Goel's inspirations and processes of creation.

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?
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

Making the Edge Appear
by Sabih Ahmed
Unpacking identity, migration, nationality and changing geographies through space and design in the artist’s work. (2019)

Interview with Indrapramit Roy
by Maitrayee Haldar
Indrapramit Roy on the thematic in his art practise and the importance of nurturing creative potential within the current art education system. (2021)

The Staging of “Staging Selves”
by Waswo X. Waswo
Confronting issues of photographic representation, Maya Kóvskaya includes artists practicing in India, China and Iran, constructing a visual and conceptual dialogue between image makers. (2012)

Composing a photograph like a painting: Interview with Pushpamala N.
by Critical Collective
The artist on the underlying themes in her works, ongoing projects and what the future holds for exhibitions and the circulation of art. (2020)

Interview with Gagan Singh
by Critical Collective
The artist on his creative processes and inspirations in the midst of a changing world. (2020)

100 Years of Kala Bhavan: Interview with A. Ramachandran
by Critical Collective
The artist on Kala Bhavan’s approach to public art and interactions with Chinese and Japanese art. (2020)

100 Years of Kala Bhavan: Interview with Anjum Singh
by Critical Collective
Anjum Singh on her early years in Kala Bhavan and the subsequent development of her artistic practices. (2020)

100 Years of Kala Bhavan: Interview with Mithu Sen
by Critical Collective
Mithu Sen on the eclectic atmosphere of Kala Bhavan and its profound influence on her practice. (2020)


A Man’s World: Gender, Family, and Architectural Patronage, in Medieval India
by Padma Kaimal
The essay investigates questions of agency and gender and looks at the architectural implications of women patrons on medieval South Indian temples. (2003)

Ascribing Feminist Intent: The Invention of the Indian Woman Artist
by Deeptha Achar
Achar examines the consolidation of the ‘Indian woman artist’ as a category in modern Indian art. (2013)

“Sober encounters”: the neoliberal logics of human rights documentary and Indian feminist documentary filmmakers

On modes of production and distribution of feminist documentary films in India. (2016)

Telling Tales: Five contemporary women artists from India
by Jorella Andrews
A review of the exhibition by Ayisha Abraham, Rummana Hussain, Anita Dube, Sheela Gowda, and Pushpamala N. to commemorate fifty years of Indian Independence. (1988)

Feminine Identity and National Ethos in Indian Calendar Art
by Patricia Uberoi
The author examines the representation of women in Indian popular art. (1990)

Masculinities: Liberation through Photography
by Katyayani Sinha
A landmark exhibition at the Barbican attempts an expansive survey of a much-contested terrain. (2020)

Women Artists at the KNMA
by Amrita Chakravarty
A recent group of exhibitions explored an alternative tradition of abstract art in South Asia, as practiced by women. (2020)

Eunuchs in Mughal Household and Court
by Shadab Bano
A critique on the political hierarchies of the eunuchs serving the Mughal Emperors. (2008)


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)

Paintings and Allied Arts as Revealed in Bana’s Works
by C Sivaramamurti
The essay examines the aesthetics of painting and sculpting in the cannons of Classical Indian Art. (1933)

The Concept of Beauty in Fine Arts and Literature
by Prabhakar Machwe
In this essay, the writer unpacks the meaning of 'beauty' within the framework of aesthetic criticism. (1958)


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)

Sharjah Diaries | In Conversation with Adrian Lahoud
by Gayatri Sinha
The curator of the first edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial on initiating a critical dialogue from "south to south." (2019)

Sharjah Diaries | In Conversation with Marina Tabassum
by Gayatri Sinha
Tabassum on her latest presentation, "Inheriting Wetness", at the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial. (2019)

CC Books

B.N. Goswamy’s The Great Mysore Bhagavata
by Sama Haq
The author comments on codicology and patronage in the Bhagavata manuscript from the royal atelier of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III of Mysore. (2020)

Aadi Anant: Creative Continuum and Unsung Masters by Sushma Bahl
by Sohini Singh
A ready-reckoner showcasing the myriad facets of the indigenous arts of India. (2020)

Interview with Indira Chandrasekhar
by Critical Collective
Indira Chandrasekhar on setting up Tulika Books, the relationship between contemporary art and publishing, and the future of books as a form. (2020)

Along the Indian Highway: An Ethnography of an International Travelling Exhibition by Catherine Bublatzky
by Simone Wille
An ethnographic reading of the decade old exhibition. (2020)

Books Received | May 2020
by Amrita Chakravarty and Ketaki Varma
A compilation of short book reviews.

Vision and Landscape- Aquatints of India by Thomas Daniell and William Daniell, edited by Giles Tillotson
by Sama Haq
On the denotative and connotative functions of the prints by the Daniells in the DAG collection. (2020)

The Art of Naina Dalal - Contemporary Indian Printmaker edited by Ratan Parimoo and Gauri Parimoo-Krishnan
by Sama Haq
An aesthetic analysis of the works of printmaker Naina Dalal. (2019)

In the Service of Krishna by Emilia Bachrach
by Sama Haq
A visual narration of the devotional aesthetics of the Pushtimarg tradition. (2019)


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)

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)

Why Statues Matter: The Changing Landscape of Calcutta’s Colonial and Postcolonial Statuary
by Tapati Guha-Thakurta
On the shifting casts and sites of Kolkata’s public statues. (2020)

A Critique of Ananda Coomaraswamy’s Presuppositions for a Philosophy of Indian Art
by Ratan Parimoo
On Coomaraswamy’s work on art and aesthetics in light of Indian philosophy. (2020)