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The Shape of Things – Three Abstract Artists of India

One may like abstract art outright, hate it or not understand exactly what it is, but it is likely that one is often curious about this perplexing art form. This artform that evades a standard definition was formally inaugurated as an art movement in the early 20th century. However, some experts assert that signs of […]

Breaking the Fourth Wall: From Witnessing to Participation

Krittika Kumari

Few of us can really comprehend what it takes to be a performance artist, and the extreme mental and physical distress artists subject their bodies to during their performance. Last in the series of the Art as Witness themed talks by MAP, Bangalore, Breaking the Fourth Wall: From Witnessing to Participation brought together two premier performance […]


Face Value: An Introduction to Portraiture in Indian Art

“I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.” – Frida Kahlo xx   As humans, our desire to record ourselves is perhaps as old as the history of art making itself. From palm prints in early caves to painstakingly gouged […]

The Glory of a Sacred Text

B. N. Goswamy

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

Rahaab Allana

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

Jyoti Bhatt

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

Dr. Jyotindra Jain

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

Shilpa Vijayakrishnan

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

Dr. Jyotindra Jain

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

B. N. Goswamy

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 […]