shopping-cart0
search
×

ESSAY

feature
Essay

Art and Power: Networks of Patronage in Contemporary South Asia

From ancient Buddhist monuments to medieval royal temples and the syncretic visual world of the Mughal court, art in the Indian subcontinent reveals a deep history of patronage. As a system of exchange, patronage also reveals underlying expressions. The inscriptions of donors at Buddhist sites at Sanchi, Amaravati, Karle, Nashik and Kuda, among others, reveal a diverse array of faithful patrons—gardeners, fisherfolk, merchants, traders, monks and nuns—brought together by a shared religion. [1] On the other hand, the idealised portraiture of Chola royals in southern India—which incorporate religious symbolism—and Jehangir’s allegorical portraits, project real and desired imperial power. [2] It was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that patronage, as we know it today, began taking shape in the Indian subcontinent, even as artists moved towards ‘modern’ forms of art. These changes, too, were underpinned by political intentions, this time by the British.

Read More
feature
Essay

Arpita Akhanda: The Memory Collector

In the past decade and a half, significant art has been produced on the subject of Partition, its aftermath and afterlives – with focus on geographical sites of ancestry, the border, migration and displacement, refugee colonies and inherited memories. Arpita is the youngest of the artists who have made this theme their own, to varying degrees. But what really distinguishes her oeuvre is that it is entirely predicated upon ‘familial postmemory’.

Read More
feature
Essay

Remembering Vivan Sundaram: 1943-2023

Saddened by his passing, Emilia Terracciano remembers Indian contemporary artist Vivan Sundaram. He summoned up all his energies from his great reservoir of wisdom and experience. He was an unstoppable creator, who never gave up, no matter how dark the situation. He reminded me that optimism is something one must purposefully marshal, a form of discipline one ought to cultivate, against all internal and external threats of dejection and hopelessness. That optimism is another word for political action.

Read More
feature
Essay

The Lure of Collaboration: Dissecting Consensus

In the hierarchical structures of the global contemporary art world, the lure of self organisation holds immense power over alienated art workers. Strategies of artistic collaboration to come together, be together, and work together are foregrounded in the name of collectivism as a remedy to create alliances against the exclusive nature of the art world. In this book, Premjish Achari unravels the problems of the deliberative processes of consensus building in collaboration, exposing the exclusive nature of these procedures of decision-making.

Read More
feature
Essay

Independent People

A truant pebble disturbs the otherwise clean, unwavering lines of the pavement in Tiananmen Square. One feels the urge to push it aside, restore the harmony of the composition. It’s impossible to do so as a viewer standing in front of an image. It also must not have been an easy task for those standing around while the image was made.

Read More
feature
Essay

Archive As Medium: Exploring the Performative Body

Archive, by nature, is based on a series of selections and deletions, the motivation being to preserve material deemed most representative of the production in question. I look at these questions through the processual journeys of the artists, spaces and productions to see if or how the notion of the archive extends beyond its traditional role as static repositories of information.

Read More
feature
Essay

My City, My Films

My city Kolkata, that I love and hate in equal measure, has featured in many of my films. How could it not have? As I have said many times before, there is no escaping it. I am the city and the city is me. I know all its sounds and silences, its nights and days, its still afternoons, its raging Nor’westers, its wild musical evenings, its calm morning ragas, its poignant Rabindra Sangeet.

Read More
feature
Essay

Many Tints of Red: Colour, Aesthetics, Bengali Cinema

In Kanchenjunga, moreover, the landscape that is produced is not merely a generic visualscape; rather, it attains autonomy and becomes an integral aspect of the narrative. The film became a yardstick of uses of colour in cinema, as cinematographer Subrata Mitra’s wellknown greyscale was transformed into natural tones, and to a colour palette which explored hues such as Ochre, Siena, Umber, Scarlet, etc.

Read More
1 2 3 5
advertisement