Select Page

Arts at The Mittal Institute

Latest News

Understanding the World Through Art: Explore Vaishnavi Patil’s Research

Vaishnavi Patil, one of the Mittal Institute’s new Graduate Student Associates, is a doctoral candidate in Harvard’s History of Art and Architecture department working on South and Southeast Asia. Vaishnavi received her B.A. in Ancient Indian History and Culture from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and an MA in History of Art and Archaeology from SOAS, London. She was a Yenching scholar at Peking University, China, receiving an MA in China Studies. In addition to her studies, Vaishnavi has participated in numerous internships, including curatorial training at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Harvard Art Museums. Vaishnavi is interested in studying female deities, especially mother goddesses, and how production, patronage, and development of religions play a role in the evolution of the mother goddess in South Asia. She is also interested in the text-to-image relationships in South Asian art, particularly the literal and the symbolic in the illustration of a text. Other areas of interest include popular practices, marginalized deities, depiction of evil, and gender issues. Her current research aims to analyze the origins and development of the cult of the mother goddess in South and Southeast Asia, particularly her representations and the popular practices centered on her.

New Visiting Artist Fellows Showcase Their Work Ahead of the October 24 Exhibit Launch

This past week, the Mittal Institute welcomed two new VAF Artists, Aamina Nizar and Sharbendu De, to Cambridge for the start of their eight-week research fellowship at Harvard. The VAF program connects artists from South Asia with Harvard’s intellectual resources, and allows a platform for mid-career artists to conduct independent research that explores critical issues in South Asia through the lens of art and design. Aamina and Sharbendu share their early impressions of their fellowship in the following Q&A. And meet them both in-person as they share their work at their Visiting Artist Fellows Art Exhibition, "Capturing the Change, Imagining the Future" on October 24. 

LMSAI Symposium Preview: Partition through an Artistic Lens

Iftikhar Dadi is the John H. Burris Professor in History of Art at Cornell University. He joins the Mittal Institute’s annual symposium for a discussion on Partition’s impact on the arts in a panel chaired by Jennifer Leaning, Professor of the Practice at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and faculty lead of the Mittal Institute’s Partition research, along with discussants Bhaskar Sarkar of UC Santa Barbara and Nadhra Khan of Lahore University of Management Sciences. LMSAI spoke with Professor Dadi about his work and art.

Fellowship for South Asian Artists Provides Unique Research Opportunity at Harvard

The Mittal Institute’s Visiting Artist Fellowship (VAF) is part of a thriving Arts Program at the Institute that seeks to expand opportunities to connect South Asia’s rich and varied artistic culture to the Harvard community, as well as enhancing the arts in South Asia through access to Harvard’s vast resources. As part of this program, the VAF provides a unique opportunity for outstanding mid-career visual artists from South Asia to come to the Harvard campus. We spoke with the Institute’s Arts Program Manager, Sneha Shrestha, to learn more about the VAF program, what makes a successful candidate, and how she hopes the program will grow in the future.

Murty Classical Library of India: New Translations of World Classics

The Mittal Institute sat down with Dr. Sharmila Sen, Editorial Director of Harvard University Press, to learn more about the Murty Classical Library of India collection and the new volumes published this winter. Harvard University Press, founded in 1913, has published many bestsellers and critically-acclaimed books for general readers and scholarly/professional audiences. Dr. Sen strategizes and oversees Harvard University Press’ overall book acquisition program.

Transforming the Art of Learning: The Work of Pre-Texts with Doris Sommer

Professor Doris Sommer, a Mittal Institute Steering Committee member, recently visited the Indian city of Pune to launch the Pre-Texts project, a pedagogy based on interpretation through the arts. She is partnering with Professor Yugank Goyal of FLAME University in Pune, where the project is being housed. Pre-Texts is an arts-based training program for teachers of literacy, critical thinking, and citizenship. While the number of readers has grown worldwide, reading comprehension stays alarmingly low because students need to use texts in order to understand them. With Pre-Texts, students master texts by using them to create visual and performative arts.