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SAI Event Topic : Arts Initiative

Fri, December 7, 2018 at 05:00pm to
Sat, December 8, 2018 at 06:30pm

Trace: Artisanal Intelligence, Material Agency, and Ritual Technology in South Asian Art

The ‘material turn’ in art history opened new avenues for research with fresh approaches that shift our attention from considering an object as a static thing in an absolute state to putting more emphasis on the process of making and its use and reuse. A chipped area in a miniature painting is no longer an unfortunate loss but a site of excavation for information about material conditions of production and use, while unfinished surface in a stone sculpture provides a laboratory to explore artisans’ hands at work.

This symposium brings together scholars whose research embraces methodological interventions and theoretical implications of art history’s material turn in the field of South Asian art and architecture, mostly focusing on the period between 500 CE and 1500CE.

Thematically organized, papers demonstrate how attending to thingness and the process of making helps reveal hitherto invisible connections across time and space.  Going beyond the rubric of material agency, papers also explore the importance of considering somatic intelligence and ritual technology that developed to activate power and sacrality of objects and buildings in Indic religious contexts. Further consideration of ritual knowledge helps situate the trace of time left in matter through artistic mediations in historical and experiential contexts.

KEYNOTE LECTURE: “Did Time Run Out? Hammer, Chisel, & the Unfinished at Rock-cut Ellora & Built Halebid” will be delivered by Vidya Dehejia, Barbara Stoler Miller Professor of Indian and South Asian Art, Columbia University


More details can be found on the symposium webpage.




Fri, Dec 7, 2018 at 05:00pm

Sat, Dec 8, 2018 at 06:30pm

Sat, November 3, 2018 from 04:00pm - 06:00pm  /  East of Kailash  /  Garhi Ext  /  Lalit Kala Akademi Artist Studio  /  New Delhi

Artist Talk: Trauma and Memory – Healing through Art

As part of the Artist Talk in our India Seminar Series, we are collaborating with the Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA), Govt of India, to host Kabi Raj Lama, a Nepal-based artist and printmaker as well as a former Visiting Artist fellow at the Mittal Institute. Kabi Raj had two direct experiences confronting traumatic natural disasters: the 2011 Tsunami in Japan and the 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal. The talk will include the artist’s realization that mental health is often ignored in the process of rebuilding after a natural disaster, and how art can be used as a form of healing from trauma. His work reflects the complexities of disasters through an intimate portrayal of personal encounters, and his current project takes his work to a completely new dimension of art therapy and scientific inquiry.

To RSVP email us at

Sat, Nov 3, 2018 at 04:00pm

Sat, Nov 3, 2018 at 06:00pm

Mon, October 29, 2018 from 04:30pm - 06:30pm  /  CGIS S 4th Floor Lobby

Visiting Artist Fellowship: Art Exhibition Opening Reception – Shaping the Ordinary through Love and Dreams, South Asian perspectives

Come and meet the Mittal Institute visiting artists, view their work, and grab a drink!

Artists include Aman Kaleem, a filmmaker, and Samsul Alam, a visual artist.

Mon, Oct 29, 2018 at 04:30pm

Mon, Oct 29, 2018 at 06:30pm

Thu, August 9, 2018 at 06:00pm  /  CSMVS Museum, Mumbai  /  Visitors' Centre Auditorium

Art and Science of the Forbes Pigment Collection | Color and Pigments in India Painting

Please join us for this two-part lecture cosponsored by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and supported by Jai & Sugandha Hiremath – Hikal Ltd. An invitation to this event may be found here


Art and Science of the Forbes Pigment Collection by Narayan Khandekar

Dr Narayan Khandekar tells us about the Forbes Pigment Collection. It will cover the reasons why Edward Waldo Forbes started collecting pigments, how the collection grew, new additions to the collection and how it is used now by using case studies from the activities of the Straus Centre for Conservation and Technical Studies.

Narayan Khandekar leads the Strauss Center’s conservation and research activities, as well as those for the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art. Specializing in the scientific analysis of paintings and painted surfaces, he has published extensively on the subject. He curates the Forbes Pigment Collection and the Gettens Collection of Binding Media and Varnishes.

Color and Pigments in Indian Painting by Jinah Kim

How blue is Krishna? Does the Sankrit term “kṛṣṇa” mean blue? Color experience is highly subjective, and color terms pose semiotic challenges. A fluid semantic range in Sanskrit makes it even more challenging to identify which color a color term denotes. Here, the data gleaned from scientific analysis of pigments and the study of material and physical aspects of paintings as objects can help unpack the role of artists in shaping the way we see color. Identifying pigments in use in Indian miniature painting and reading them in close comparison with the colors discussed in theoretical texts and artistic treatises, afford us a glimpse into artists’ intimate, embodied knowledge of each color’s material properties.  This talk will demonstrate how efforts to contextualize the analytical data on pigments with art historical questions can help advance our understanding of color and pigments in the history of painting beyond a matter of confirmation of a pigment’s use.

Jinah Kim is the Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture. Professor Kim’s research and teaching interests cover a broad range of topics with special interests in intertextuality of text-image relationship, art and politics, female representations and patronage, issues regarding re-appropriation of sacred objects, and post-colonial discourse in the field of South and Southeast Asian Art.



Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 06:00pm

Thu, Aug 9, 2018

CSMVS Museum, Mumbai

159-161 Mahatma Gandhi Road
Fort, Mumbai - 400023, Maharashtra, India

Visitors' Centre Auditorium

Fri, April 27, 2018 from 02:00pm - 05:00pm  /  Adam's House Basement  /  Cambridge  /  Corner of Bow St and Arrow St  /  MA 02138

Japanese Woodblock Print Demonstration with Kabi Raj Lama

In collaboration with Harvard’s Bow and Arrow Press, The Mittal Institute’s Artist in Residence Kabi Raj Lama will lead a three-hour demonstration and workshop on Japanese Woodcut Print-making.

The workshop will begin with Kabi Raj sharing his lithography and woodcut prints. He will discuss his print-making journey and then demonstrate how to make prints by hand using water-based inks and a special tool. After the tutorial, participants are invited to make their own print.

Kabi Raj Lama is a contemporary printmaker based in Kathmandu, who primarily works with lithography and the Japanese mokuhanga (woodcut) medium. His work examines themes of natural disasters, trauma and religion. Lama sees the complexities of natural disasters as multidimensional — affecting both tangible and intangible worlds.


This demonstration is free and open to the public.

Located at the corner of Bow St. and Arrow St. Adams B-Entry basement level.

More about Bow and Arrow Press.

Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 02:00pm

Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 05:00pm

Thu, April 12, 2018 from 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm  /  CGIS South, S250

Arts at SAI Seminar: Tea Tales of Bangladesh

Faiham Ebna Sharif, SAI Visiting Artist

Chair: Sugata Bose, Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs, Harvard University

Comments by: Alison Nordström, Curator and Historian of Photography

SAI Visiting Artist Faiham Ebra Sharif is a is a freelance multimedia journalist and photographer. He will discuss his current project, Cha Chakra: Tea Tales of Bangladesh, which sheds light on the plight of the tea garden workers of Bangladesh who are among the lowest paid and most vulnerable laborers in the world yet are strangely invisible to the global media. This project aims to collect the undocumented history of the global tea industry through photography, oral histories, and archival materials

Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 6:30 pm

CGIS South, S250
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA

Tue, April 3, 2018 from 12:00pm - 02:00pm  /  202 Meeting Room  /  61 Kirkland Street

South Asia Without Borders Seminar: Citizenship of the Outcastes

The panel will discuss conceptions of “citizenship” in India as related to caste and indigeneity. The discussion will be an opportunity to explore the ways that citizenship and belonging have been constructed through exclusion and marginalization based on social, political, and ethnic lines.

Rajyashri Goody, Visiting Artist, The Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University

Suraj Yengde, W.E.B. Du Bois Nonresident fellow, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University; Research Associate, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Raile Rocky Ziipao, Arvind Raghunathan and Sribala Subramanian South Asia Visiting Fellow, The Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University

Moderator: Sai Balakrishnan, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Lunch will be provided.

Co-sponsored by the Committee on Ethnicity Migration and Rights (EMR) and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Tue, Apr 3, 2018 at 12:00pm

Tue, Apr 3, 2018 at 02:00pm

Fri, March 9, 2018 from 12:00pm - 02:00pm  /  CGIS South, S153

Pre-Texts with Doris Sommer

Doris Sommer, Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Possible through the generosity of the Asia Center

The Humanities have important work to do in developing societies because they foster creative and critical thinking. For its own intrinsic value, the aesthetic judgment that the Humanities hone affords pleasure of freedom and sociability. And related to those pleasures is the general faculty of judgment that free societies depend on. With the activities of Pre-Texts we gather lessons of philosophy, pedagogy, and art — including vernacular arts — to offer high order learning in low-resourced communities. In collaboration with partners in the Indian education and public health sectors, Cultural Agents hopes to contribute to development in India with Pre-Texts by engaging local strengths to promote: Literacy, Innovation, and Citizenship.

Lunch will be provided during the seminar and will be followed by a demonstration of Pre-Texts with audience participation.

Possible through the generosity of the Asia Center


Fri, Mar 9, 2018 at 12:00pm

Fri, Mar 9, 2018 at 02:00pm

CGIS South, S153
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Thu, November 9, 2017 at 07:00pm  /  Agassiz Theater

Nepathya: Kudiyattam, Sanskrit Theater Performance

Kudiyattam is the last living performance tradition of Sanskrit theater in the world. Recognized by UNESCO as preserving “masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity,” this visually powerful tradition is performed by the troupe Nepathya, from central Kerala in South India.

Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 07:00pm

Thu, Nov 9, 2017