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Tag: arts


Student Voices: Buddhist art in Odisha


sonali2This is part of a series in which we share reports from Harvard students who have traveled to South Asia with support from a SAI grant.

By Sonali Dhingra, PhD candidate, History of Art and Architecture, Harvard

My dissertation on “Buddhist art in Odisha between the seventh and eleventh century” is based on sculptural and architectural remains from the south-eastern Indian coastal state of Odisha. A generous grant from the South Asia Institute at Harvard enabled me to learn Odia, the primary language spoken in region. I spent the summer in the green and beautiful city of Bhubaneshwar, also known as the “city of temples”.

Classes were arranged through the American Institute of Indian studies, as Odia is not taught at Harvard and is seldom learned by graduate students working on South Asia. In fact, I was the only student in the program which was consequently well-tailored to my needs. The language program segued seamlessly into my field-work year and after a successful completion of the program, I visited several living temples, small villages and archaeological sites in rural Odisha, where knowing Odia is a definite asset. Medieval Odiya literature is indispensable for tracing the lives of the images and architectural spaces that I am studying for my dissertation project.

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In their own words: Why I support the arts


IMG_9103 - CopyRepresenting Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, the members of the SAI Arts Council provide financial support and advisement for SAI’s Arts Program. The program connects South Asia’s artists with Harvard faculty and students to support research that advances the understanding of cultural, political, social, and economic issues of the world through art.

SAI recently welcomed Omar Saeed, based in Lahore, to the council. Mr. Saeed came to SAI as an in-kind supporter 5 years ago. He has been the Chief Executive Officer of Service Industries Ltd. since July 31, 2011. Mr. Saeed served as Chief Operating Officer of Premier BPO Inc. He ran Service Sales Corporation as Chief Operating Officer from 2002 to 2010. He founded Ovex Technologies (Private) Limited in 2003 and served as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Saeed has served as President of Harvard Business School Club of Pakistan and is an adjunct faculty member at LUMS. He is a graduate of Brown University and did his Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

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Update from Visiting Artists, 2015-16


During the 2015-2016 academic year, SAI hosted 4 artists from South Asia for a week each, where they visited course, interacted with students, displayed their work, and gave a public seminar. Below are updates from what they have been involved in since their time at Harvard.

Apply for the upcoming year’s program (Deadline Aug. 15, 2016).

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Update from the Harvard Alumni Group in Nepal


Rai, second from right, with members of the Group

Rai, second from right, with members of the Group

The Harvard Alumni Group of Nepal hosted its monthly meeting on May 10, 2016 in Kathmandu, which featured a talk by Milan Rai, a young artist from Nepal who participated in the South Asia Institute’s Visiting Artist Program in 2016. He discussed his “White Butterfly” project.

Rai is an accomplished artist, who found his gift for painting and sketching following a painful stint with drugs and gang fighting when he was young. He dropped out of school, but kept moving forward. He began to seek out professional opportunities to improve his skills. He worked on figurative and landscape painting, and then abstract paintings utilizing a myriad of disciplines and media. His first solo exhibition was in 2007 at Park Gallery. He then moved beyond the gallery system and became a self-representing artist.

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Call for Applications: Program for Visiting Artists from South Asia (Deadline: Aug. 15)


060916_graphicAbout: The Harvard University South Asia Institute’s Arts Program serves as a resource across all disciplines to explore critical issues of South Asia through the lens of art and design. The Program welcomes applications from emerging artists in South Asia to come to Harvard University to participate in interdisciplinary discourse with students and faculty on global issues relevant to South Asia.

Four artists will be selected for the academic year to Harvard University in Cambridge, Ma for a total of two weeks. Two artists will arrive in the fall from October 30 – November 13, 2016 , and another two artists will arrive March 19 – April 2, 2017. While our visiting emerging artists are on campus, SAI will support events and exhibits organized in collaboration with specific Harvard departments and faculty, and aligned with undergraduate course-content within Harvard.

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SAI hosts visual artist Milan Rai


Milan Rai, left, with Jinah Kim

Milan Rai, left, with Jinah Kim

From April 10-15, SAI hosted Milan Rai, a visual artist from Nepal, at Harvard, as SAI’s fourth Visiting Artist of the year. Rai’s White Butterfly project 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. 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.

During his time at Harvard, Rai gave a public talk about the project and spread his white butterflies around campus. Rai also visited the courses ‘Introduction to Social Movements’ taught by Jocelyn Viterna, FAS, ‘Himalayan Art,’ taught by Jinah Kim, FAS, ‘Landmarks of World Architecture’ taught by Joseph Connors, FAS, ‘Social Change in the Digital Age,’ taught by Jesse Littlewood, HKS, ‘Muslim Devotional Literatures in South Asia’ taught by Ali Asani, FAS, and ‘Art, Design, and Learning in Public Spaces,’ taught by Steven Seidel, FAS. He also visited Harvard’s museums, and several in the Greater Boston area.

SAI’s Visiting Artist Program brings emerging artists from South Asia to Harvard’s campus, to engage with Harvard students, faculty, and community members.

 

 

Click here to view photos from Rai’s visit.

 

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April 13: White Butterfly


SAI will be hosting Nepalese artist Milan Rai at Harvard from April 11-15, 2016. His public art exhibit of white butterflies will be spread across campus during the week. He will also visit courses, meet with students and faculty, and give a public talk on April 13.

Made possible by the Dean of the Division of Social Science’s Donald T. Regan Lecture Fund and the Arts Advisory Council, SAI’s Visiting Artist Program brings emerging artists from South Asia to Harvard’s campus, to engage with Harvard students, faculty, and community members. The program allows the Harvard community to engage with artists of diverse backgrounds, whose work of various mediums address social, economic, and political issues in South Asia.

 

0413 White Butterfuly 2Artist Talk: White Butterfly

Wednesday, April 13, 4:00pm – 05:30pm, CGIS Knafel, K050, 1737 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA

Art Seminar

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.

Learn more about his work.

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Megacities Asia


From right: Sai Balakrishnan, Anu Ramaswami, Asim Waqif, Chitra Venkataramani

From right: Sai Balakrishnan, Anu Ramaswami, Asim Waqif, Chitra Venkataramani

Over the last 50 years, Asia has become home to more megacities than any other continent in the world. These cities – specifically Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Seoul – are the inspiration for the Museum of Fine Arts’ ‘Megacities Asia’ exhibition, on display at the Boston museum from April 3 to July 17. The exhibition features the work of artists like Hema Upadhyay, Ai Weiwei, Subodh Gupta, Choi Jeong Hwa, Asim Waqif, Aaditi Joshi, Song Dong, and Hu Xiangcheng, among others.

The Harvard South Asia Institute hosted an event of the same name on March 24 at Harvard, in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), Harvard’s Asia Center, Department of Art and Architecture, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Korea Institute, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, which featured academics and scholars of Asia in conversation with several of the artists whose work is on display at the MFA.

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Q+A: Visiting Artist Paribartana Mohanty


Screenshot from one of Mohanty's 'Act the Victim ' performances.

Screenshot from one of Mohanty’s ‘Act the Victim ‘ performances.

Paribartana Mohanty will visit Harvard next week as SAI’s third Visiting Artist of the year. Mohanty, based in India, will give a public seminar on March 30, tour museums, meet with students and faculty, and attend classes. Mohanty’s current project, Act the Victim, uses interactive performances based on a simple invitation to ‘act’ as a victim, consciously positioning people in the discomforts of victimhood and open associations with crisis.

The Visiting Artist Program is part of SAI’s Art Program, which connects South Asia’s curators, museum administrators, artists, and art educators with Harvard faculty and students to support activity and research that advance understanding and appreciation of South Asian art.

RSVP: March 29 Lunch with visiting artist Paribartana Mohanty

SAI recently spoke to Mohanty about his work and what he hopes to learn during his week at Harvard.

SAI: What is ‘Act the Victim’ and how did the idea develop?

Paribartana Mohanty: Act the Victim came from a video I made, ‘Post-Mughal Hunting Scene,’ about a victim of the 2002 riots in Gujarat.  From there, I became interested in this idea of the victim and crisis, and how it can be represented in art. I became interested in the idea of performance and film.

SAI: How did you decide on these mediums to explore the idea of victimhood? Why performances and video?

PM: In the beginning, I had been interested in the idea of film, and the idea of creating an archive of victims from around the world. It grew through performances because that was the way I could intervene in the actual dialogue.

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SAI welcomes three new members to Arts Council


Photo by Ranjit Kandalgaonkar, Visiting Artist, Fall 2015

Photo by Ranjit Kandalgaonkar, Visiting Artist, Fall 2015

SAI is honored to announce new members of our Arts Advisory Council. Council members provide support and advisement for the Arts at SAI program, which aims to connect South Asia’s curators, museum administrators, artists, and art educators with Harvard faculty and students to support activity and research that advance understanding and appreciation of South Asian art.

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