USA EXHIBITION INDIAN ART UNTIL DECEMBER 7 2008 Multiple Modernities: India, 1905-2005 (on view at Philadelphia Museum of Art June 14 – Dec. 7, 2008 consists of more than 25 drawings, prints and watercolor paintings produced by South Asian artists before and after the region’s independence and subsequent partition into India and Pakistan.
The exhibition illustrates the range of artistic traditions and experiments in visual culture that emerged as South Asia transformed from a British colony to independent nation-states to a world economic power.
Many of South Asia’s preeminent artists of the past century are represented. Jamini Roy (1887-1972), for example, looked toward regional eastern Indian folk traditions for his simplified forms and bold, flat colors.
One of the most significant individuals in the fight for cultural regeneration was Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), who collaborated with a group of artists and intellectuals to launch what has been called the “Bengal Renaissance.” A writer, educator, and Asia’s first Nobel laureate (Literature, 1913), Tagore did not focus on visual art until he was well into his 60’s. The exhibition includes a rare and never-before-displayed group of seven of his imaginative and enigmatic drawings and paintings from the Museum’s collection.
The Progressive Artists Group in Bombay, formed in 1948 and disbanded a few years later, searched for their individual artistic voices, rather than solely a national vision. Its members and associates included some of the major artists who shaped modern India, such as F.N. Souza, M.F. Hussain, and Tyeb Mehta, all represented in this exhibition.
During the 1960s and 70s, a younger generation modeled in part on the Progressives renewed their search to infuse art with powerful individuality. Their variety of voices is evident in works including Bhupen Khakhar’s Shame (after 1983) and Gieve Patel’s Dead Politician (1972).
Representing the latter half of the 20th century a recently acquired collage-lithograph by Atul Dodiya is on show. Based on a minor episode in the great Hindu epic Ramayana, Sabari with her birds (2005) explores the power of faith through the tale of a tribal woman who spends her life alone in the forest preparing to encounter God. The work is part of a series inspired by three paintings by Indian artist Nandalal Bose (1882-1966), whose retrospective will be on display concurrently in the Museum.
“ Multiple Modernities offers an unusual opportunity to appreciate the breadth of South Asian art from the 20th century, and gives insights into the challenges that artists confronted in developing both a national identity and authentic personal voices,” Darielle Mason, the Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art, said.
http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/321.html Source: www.theartwolf.com Image details: Atul Dodiya Sabari with her Birds 2005