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 Vaishnavi Patil is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, pursuing research in the art of South and Southeast Asia. Her dissertation delves into the role of the mother goddess in South Asian religions, particularly focusing on the mother-child imagery of the first to the tenth century CE. Her research seeks to understand the networks of transmissions of ideas and imagery, the role of artists, patrons, and devotees in shaping religion, and the reciprocity and connectedness in the religions of South Asia through the sacred feminine. She is a recipient of grants from the Porter Research Travel Fellowship, Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, and the Asia Center.

Beyond her dissertation, Vaishnavi has conducted extensive research on South Asian paintings and drawings from the 15th-18th centuries through her work with the Mapping Color in History project. She was also a Research Assistant for the exhibition Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200 BCE–400 CE (2023) in the Asian Art Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has an interest in the artistic connections across Asia through the Buddhist world and has worked as a Curatorial Assistant on Southeast Asian Art at the Harvard Art Museums. Before joining Harvard, Vaishnavi pursued her B.A. in Ancient Indian History and Culture at St. Xavier’s College Mumbai, an M.A. in History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS, London, and an M.A. in China Studies as a Yenching scholar at Peking University.