Harvard South Asia Institute is proud to co-sponsor the biennial American Council for Southern Asian Art Symposium. ACSAA symposia serve as opportunities to meet colleagues, reconnect with mentors and graduate school cohorts, and share one’s current research with the field. From senior scholars to graduate students, ACSAA symposia are one of the primary ways ACSAA members gather and support one another, share ideas with a group of like-minded colleagues, and participate in the ACSAA community. We are looking forward to welcoming you all in Boston/Cambridge, MA!
ACSAA 2017 Organizers
Jinah Kim, Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art & Architecture Laura Weinstein, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy curator of South Asian and Islamic Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
About the ACSAA
The American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the study and awareness of the art of South and Southeast Asia and the Himalayan regions. In addition to periodic symposia, usually held every two years, ACSAA pursues these goals through various projects, including its annual bulletin, bibliographies, a color slide project, a microfiche archive and outreach materials. Since its incorporation in 1967, ACSAA has grown from its original fifteen members to an organization of some three hundred individuals and institutions. ACSAA is formally affiliated with the College Art Association (CAA) and the Association of Asian Studies (AAS).
Danish Husain is a poet, actor, filmmaker and theatre director – he is one of the people who have helped revive the lost art form of Urdu storytelling, Dastangoi, and is a columnist with India Today’s opinion website Daily O.
Chair: Ali Asani
Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard University
Qissebaazi expands and builds upon traditional storytelling. A multilingual platform with multiple performers, it is theatrical in presentation but still, distinctively, storytelling.
A Harvard South Asia Institute Muslim Societies in South Asia Series
Join us for a screening of Deepa Mehta’s acclaimed film Water (2005; 115 min.), part of the Elements trilogy. Set in 1938 Colonial India, against Mahatma Gandhi’s rise to power, the story begins when eight-year-old Chuyia is widowed and sent to a home where Hindu widows must live in penitence. Chuyia’s feisty presence affects the lives of the other residents, including a beautiful young widow, who falls for a Gandhian idealist.
This screening is offered in conjunction with the installation Women in South Asian Art, on view in the University Teaching Gallery at Harvard Art Museums from August 26, 2017–January 7, 2018.
Please also join us to continue Mehta’s Elements trilogy with screenings of Fire on Friday, September 29 and Earth on Friday, October 27 at 2 pm in Menschel Hall.
Drawn from the Harvard Art Museums’ renowned South Asian art collection, this University Teaching Gallery installation complements an undergraduate course exploring images of women in South Asian art; the course takes a historical perspective in order to understand the politics of gender and the social status of women in today’s South Asia. In addition to historical examples of female patronage and representations of goddesses, the installation includes a group of objects portraying women as active agents—a lady chasing a cat, for example, or a rare depiction of a female artist. A small group of erotic images invites viewers to consider the relationship between erotic science and the Indic attitude toward the body, in which sexuality and virility are auspicious forces.
The installation’s related course (HAA 183W) is taught by Jinah Kim, the Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. The University Teaching Gallery serves faculty and students affiliated with Harvard’s Department of History of Art and Architecture. Semester-long installations are mounted in conjunction with undergraduate and graduate courses, supporting instruction in the critical analysis of art and making unique selections from the museums’ collections available to all visitors.
This installation is made possible in part by funding from the Gurel Student Exhibition Fund and the José Soriano Fund. Modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.
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).