View a virtual gallery of the artwork from our 13 2020-2021 Visiting Artist Fellows from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal.
Category : Arts at SAI
Recently, our 13 current Visiting Artist Fellows from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal gathered in the virtual world for the next edition in a series of four online seminars curated to support their long-term art practice. Dr. Siddharth Shah, Director of Civic Engagement and Curator of South Asian Art at the Peabody Essex Museum, taught the second virtual seminar for the Mittal Institute’s Visiting Artist Fellows on “Curating a South Asian Art Gallery.” He brought the artists together to explore the South Asian art gallery at the Peabody Essex Museum and discuss the thought and research that goes into curating a gallery, down to the keywords and labels that are used to describe and define art.
The Mittal Institute’s Program for Conservation of Culture (PCC) promotes a climate for cultural conservation in South Asia. It aims to bring the global values of conservation practices in conversation with local needs and the existing know-how of materials, resources, climate, legal parameters, and history to build a stronger foundation for present and future safekeeping and conservation of South Asia’s heritage. As a part of the PCC, the Mittal Institute hosted two recent panel discussions on recent developments in science and the impact of these developments on the field of art conservation globally and in South Asia
Due to COVID-related programming changes this year, our 2020–2021 Visiting Artist Fellowship was reimagined, bringing 13 of the top applicants from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal to the virtual world for a series of four online virtual seminars curated to support the artists’ long-term practice. In these courses, the artists participate in thought-provoking discussions with their peers and the faculty member facilitating the class. Centering on art history, creative writing, urban design, and more, the artists will learn using Harvard’s intellectual and creative resources.
Until recently, expertise from outside of South Asia has been crucial to informing practices around cultural conservation, but efforts need to be made to understand and adapt to the regional context and nuances. The current state of research and practice of conservation in India is in a nascent stage and is faced by the overwhelming task of the safekeeping and conservation of India’s vast material and intangible cultural heritage. We spoke with Anupam Sah, the Head of Conservation at the CSMVS Museum, to learn more about the status of art and heritage conservation in India. Anupam Sah will be moderating an upcoming two-part seminar series on December 10, “Art and Science of Heritage Conservation: Finding the Right Balance.”
In partnership with Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), the Mittal Institute recently hosted a webinar that delved into the history of art in South Asia. Presented by Laura Weinstein, the Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art at the MFA, she discussed with Jinah Kim, George P. Bickford Professor of Indian and South Asian Art at Harvard University, a new publication from the MFA that explores its South Asian collection, while critiquing the binaries based in Western Enlightenment thought that have historically been applied to art from India and its neighbors.
Recently, the Mittal Institute teamed up with the Peabody Essex Museum for a discussion on “Partition’s Legacy: South Asian Art on the Line.” Post-independent South Asia is depicted in many forms, with the intent to make sense of its complexities. After the Partition of the subcontinent along the Radcliffe Line, the socio-political ruptures and conflicts that ensued created numerous questions.
Due to COVID-related programming changes, we have reimagined the 2020-2021 Visiting Artist Fellowship. We have selected 14 Visiting Artist Fellows, including photographers, sculptors, videographers, and mixed media artists to attend a series of four online virtual seminars curated for them to support the artists’ long-term practice, while simultaneously contributing to thought-provoking discussions among their peers and the faculty facilitating the class.
Spring 2020 Visiting Artist Fellow Numair Abbasi is a Pakistani artist whose practice draws on popular culture and anecdotes to challenge how gender is socially constructed and performed. In this video, he discusses the work behind his virtual exhibition, Everyday Encounters, with the Harvard Ed Portal.
A recent panel discussion at the Mittal Institute, “Rethinking the Museum Experience During and Post-COVID-19″ — moderated by Jinah Kim, George P. Bickford Professor of Indian and South Asian Art at Harvard University — explores how art institutions can remain nimble enough to respond to uncertainties, such as COVID-19, adapting their approach to tackle similar situations in the future. How can art institutions engage their patrons as partners in the sustainability of museums?
“The southern border of Nepal, along India, was created 150 years ago by external parties,” says Sagar Chhetri, a visual artist from Nepal and a former Visiting Artist Fellow at the Mittal Institute. When that border was created, communities were cut in two. “[In Nepal], the ruling caste tried to unite all the peoples of the country to create one single Nepali identity. But in the populous open border region, Nepalis and Indians share marital ties, cultures, languages, and histories. With the promise of federalism during the decade-long civil war in Nepal came stronger rhetoric and ideology based on ethnic identity,” he said.
Suhasini Kejriwal, a mixed media artist from India, joined the Mittal Institute earlier this Spring in our latest group of Visiting Artist Fellows. Through photography, paintings, embroidery, and more, Suhasini’s practice acts as witness to the lived experiences of those whom she observes, living out their lives in the busy streets of India’s urban landscapes.