Chair: Susan Bean, Independent Scholar and Chair, Art & Archaeology Center, American Institute of Indian Studies
Madhu Das is a multi-disciplinary Visual Artist based in Mumbai, India; his artistic practice is primarily concerned with the projection of identity onto the social and natural world: in a way that the two are woven together in the Indian space (both mythic space and actual); Exploring both conceptual and material sensibilities through range of media including drawing and painting, photography, performance, video, site-specific interventions, collaborative community projects and interactive/performative installations.
In his work, human body often establish an improvisational relationship with object and sculptural elements in the space. The work has involved the spaces in both a narrative sense and as a site of memory to re-narrate historical events as a way of plotting connections between the particular and the universal. Subjectively, he adapt aspects of material culture as well as methods from anthropology, allegorical fiction as conceptual tool, which later extends to the space of the viewer, from the point of a storyteller, exploring exciting linguistic devices and imagery with a sense of irony and paradox.
Rabindra Shrestha, Visiting Artist, SAI Arts Program
Chair: Jinah Kim, Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Rabindra Shrestha is a Nepalese visual artist. Installation, detail pen and ink drawing, painting, traditional painting (Paubha), illustration, cartoon, and ceramic art are the different mediums of his visuals expressions. Most of his art is directly conceptual based. The collaborative line art project, Earthquake line and Finger prints with red line are some of his series in the Nepali contemporary art scene. Many people refer to him as a “Line Artist”. Shrestha’s works has been exhibited throughout the National Fine Art exhibition (nine times), Kochi-Muzirise Biennale 2014 (India), and Asian Art Biennale (Bangladesh). He secured the National Special Award (NAFA) from National Academy of Fine Arts three times, and was a winner of the US embassy Art Competition (Nepal).
Komal Shahid Khan, Visiting Artist, South Asia Institute Arts Program
Chair: Susan S. Bean, Chair, Art & Archaeology Center, American Institute of Indian Studies; Board Member, Textile Society of America; Associate, Peabody Museum, Harvard University; Senior Curator for South Asian and Korean Art. Peabody Essex Museum
Starting with an introduction and practices which lead to her specialization in Miniature painting, Khan will discuss how her work evolved over time, from traditional to conceptual and experimental. She will be talking about her Projects/ Series of Paintings, including: ‘Riddle, I call Life’ (2014), ‘Revelation’ (2015), ‘Aura’ (2015), ‘Her’ (2016), and ‘Imagined Immortals’ (2016).
She will show each painting briefly, commenting on individuals, society and the understanding of consciousness and unconsciousness and how her recent work is based upon what she calls “poetics of masquerade’’ in which the painted narratives are timeless and familiar.
Khan is a Visual Artist, based in Islamabad, Pakistan. She graduated from the University of Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan in 2012 and then did her Master in Fine Arts from Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi, Pakistan with specialization in Miniature Painting. On completing the degree in 2014, she scored Distinction and was awarded Gold Medal for herb Thesis Show in 2014. Since graduating, she started her career with Group Shows in art galleries in Islamabad/Rawalpindi and then moved on to Lahore and Karachi as well. She is presently teaching at the National College of Arts Rawalpindi, Pakistan, as a Lecturer. October, 2016 marks her First Solo Exhibition entitled as “Imagined Immortals” in Karachi, Pakistan.
Lunch will be served.
The South Asia Institute Visiting Artist Program hosts emerging artists at Harvard to engage with faculty, students, and the Harvard community.
Meenakshi Sengupta, Visiting Artist, South Asia Institute Arts Program
Chair: Jinah Kim, Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture, South and Southeast Asian Art, Harvard University
This talk will focus on the celebration of womanhood and how Sengupta comes to this work. Boys don’t cry is a title of her recent drawing series. She will mainly talk about her practice and how she developed her language primarily surrounded by conventional art practice, and finally the way she explore that form into a broader aspect. Her talk will be supported by an audio-visual presentation of her works, followed by a discussion.
Born in 1987, Kolkota, India and Sengupta holds a B.V.A. 2011 (Painting), from the University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India and a M.F.A. 2013 (Painting) with distinction (Gold Medal), from the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, India. Since then she has been practicing her art and showing it together with Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, India. In her work, she uses traditional pictorial representation to push formal and aesthetic conventions producing new meaning by using wit and irony to explore gender identity and complexities in contemporary life.
Lunch will be served.
Sengupta will also lead an interactive art work on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 3PM at SAI’s office in CGIS South, 4th Floor.
Milan Rai,Visiting Artist, South Asia Institute Art Program
Chair: Jinah Kim, Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Rai’s White Butterfly project was a personal art installation that has grown with a global outreach for different community causes and concerns. It is a demonstration of how the role of art can take different turns when shared across social media, connecting people and communities to effect social change and awareness. From Scotland to Greece to New York to Africa over the past two years, many connections around the world have been established.
Those connections became an unexpected source of support and real change in rapid response to the earthquake disasters in Nepal this year, initiating funding projects for immediate relief to provide sanitation facilities, toilets rebuilding a school and relocating an entire village. In this talk, Rai will introduce The White Butterfly project to the faculty and students at Harvard in the form of a retrospective photographic exhibition, including an interactive presentation.
Rai’s work will be on display starting April 11 in the follow locations: SAI office on the 4th floor CGIS South, CGIS South lobby (1730 Cambridge Street), and CGIS Knafel Lobby (1737 Cambridge Street).
Chair: Namita Dharia, Lecturer in Anthropology, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
The lecture-performance is part of Mohanty’s larger project ‘Act the Victim’ that engages with the images of crisis circulating on social media. It is based on a video excerpt of TV interview of Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, that went viral on social media just before the 2014 General Elections in India. ‘Great Eternal Return’ will deal with the plethora of anonymous and mysterious images circulating on social media landscape, and traveling across geographical boundaries, contesting meanings and proposing misreadings. It will on one level study the shifting values of these obsessively parasitic images: their displacement, associations, propagandas, and investigate the processes of their creation and resurrection elsewhere. On the other hand, it will attempt to comprehend our encounters with these temporal images that continuously replace each other in an itinerant loop and become part of our collective memory, occupy our everyday conversations, public sphere, and our dreams.
Chair: Asad Ahmed,Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University
In September 2013, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh witnessed a pogrom against local Muslim residents. More than 100 were killed and over 80,000 displaced. This film explores the social, political, and economic dynamics in a region that has historically seen relative harmony between Hindus and Muslims. What happened this time? The film cuts across multiple facets of violence that right-wing nationalism has wrought in north India: ‘honor’ politics, gender violence, caste and class polarization under the umbrella of Hindu-ness or Hindutva. The film also shows how non-Hindutva parties in the region play along with such polarizing rhetoric in the hopes of electoral windfalls in their favor.
In the midst of this violence, the film also narrates a growing resistance in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, where the story has yet to be played out. ‘What will be the fate of Muzaffarnagar, eventually?’
Sawhney graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India in 2006. His films focus on labor, gender, and caste issues in north India.
Ian Holliday,Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), The University of Hong Kong
‘Altered State: Painting Myanmar in a time of transition,’ an exhibit of paintings will be on display Thursday, February 4 – Monday, February 22, 2016 in the Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge MA
Sponsored by the Asia Center and the South Asia Institute
Devdutt Pattanaik, Author, Mythologist, Artist (@devduttmyth)
Chair: Gokul Madhavan, Preceptor in Sanskrit, Department of South Asian Studies, Harvard University
Can you imagine a cross-dressing God? Hindus can, and have, for over a thousand years. Did this express a universal social reality or was this a highly refined metaphor for a few remains a matter of speculation and fierce debate. But no one can deny that in Hindu holy books and temple imagery when God descends on earth to be the ‘complete man’, it involves incorporating the feminine. Such queer ideas extend themselves to Buddhist and Jain stories too, making it not just a Hindu idea but generally an Indic idea. Through shifts in gender, the fluid nature of the world was shared by the sages to help people expand (brah) their mind (mana). Come experience the stories and ideas they shared through art through Devdutt Pattanaik’s brilliant and unique sketches!
An exhibit of the same name will be on view February 2 – March 23, 2016 at the CGIS Knafel Concourse, 1737 Cambridge Street, Cambridge MA 02138
Cosponsored with the Arts Connect International, Asia Center, Carr Center,India GSD,LAMBDA at Harvard Law, Harvard India Student Group, South Asia Institute, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
Watch an interview with Devdutt Pattanaik: