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The Glory of a Sacred Text

Like the layered world that Indian painting is, this seemingly simple, geometrically organised, almost dry-looking, and relatively late painting, seems to say many things at once. Being the last folio of a series ‘illustrating’, as it were, one of the great Puranas, the Bhagavata, it sums up the greatness of that sacred and ancient text. All […]

A Bold Fusion of Art & Photography

The history of the painted photograph in India addresses the ambiguity about ‘artists’ and ‘photographers’, wherein the photographer assumes the role of a portrait artist, while the artist, that of a draughtsman. The traditional format of portraiture seen in folk art, enmeshed with photography, presents a compelling moment for photographers, who now invest their monochrome […]


Experiencing Photography

I came face to face with a camera for the first time when I was one years old. I can say this because I have seen a photograph of myself in an album that my father had made of our family. However, it wasn’t until I was about nine that I became aware of the camera. As a youngster my […]

The Jangarh Idiom

Jangarh Singh Shyam was one of the most accomplished and individualistic Pardhan Gond artists who, with his tribal cultural background, entered the contemporary space of art while working at Bharat Bhawan in Bhopal, where he was introduced to poster and acrylic colours, paper, canvas and printmaking. It was also here, for the first time, that he […]

On Archives, Vintage Prints, Sunil Janah and more

In his essay Unpacking My Library, Walter Benjamin writes, “for a collector — and I mean a real collector, a collector as he ought to be — ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them.” Embodying this […]


Textiles for India’s Freedom Movement

We are familiar with the grand narratives of the histories of India’s independence movement – swadeshi, the indigo farmers’ struggle, the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Gandhi’s Dandi March, his satyagrahas and the khadi movement. Besides these well recorded and well-known histories, there were lesser known and unsung histories of ordinary people’s engagement with India’s nationalist […]

A Conclave Unlike Any Other

Not infrequently, in Indian painting, one comes upon images of small groups of saintly men — sufis is how one generally sees them — seated in a circle at the centre of which there might be a low chauki-like table on which a small pile of books rests. These men, not young of years and […]