This week, the Visiting Artist Fellows’ Fall 2019 exhibit, Exploring Identity Through a Contemporary South Asian Lens, opened at the Mittal Institute. Available for viewing through November 26, photographer Sagar Chhetri and sculptor Sakshi Gupta unveiled their artistic interpretations of life, time, and the human condition to a rapt audience. The 8-week Visiting Artist research program provides a vital platform for an exchange of perspectives and knowledge, linking Cambridge and South Asia through shared stories and new understandings and providing artists from South Asia the opportunity to use Harvard’s resources to perform research that will inform their art practice.
We recently sat down with Sakshi Gupta, an accomplished sculptor and mixed media artist from India and one of the Mittal Institute’s new Visiting Artist Fellows for Fall 2019. Her series, At the Still Point of the Turning World, explores the human condition, transformation, and the momentariness of life, time, and eternity by turning found objects into something new.
We recently sat down with Sagar Chhetri, an accomplished photographer from Nepal and one of the Mittal Institute’s new Visiting Artist Fellows for Fall 2019. His photography series, Eclipse, delves into the identity conflict experienced by the Madhesi community of Nepal and his Madhesi peers through profound imagery of their day-to-day lives.
Our latest group of Visiting Artist Fellows for the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters has been chosen! Selected from a vast group of applicants, our new artists come from India, Nepal, and Pakistan, and their work represents a multitude of artistic mediums. From the exploration of the human condition to a focus on racial and social identity, our Visiting Artist Fellows plan to spend their time at Harvard researching their interest areas and connecting with faculty, students, and the community to expand on their individual art practices.
In our first episode of our Art in South Asia podcast series, we sat down with Sneha Shrestha, the Mittal Institute’s Arts Program Manager, to learn more about the meaning behind her Nepali-inspired work, the most exciting art piece she’s ever worked on, and the Visiting Artist Fellowship, which brings artists from South Asia to the Mittal Institute to perform research and utilize Harvard’s resources.
In a recent paper, Professor Ian Talbot, a 2018 Mittal Institute Visiting Fellow and Professor at the University of Southampton, delved into the precarious politics of Pakistan's formative years in the 1950s. Below is an excerpt from the paper; click the link within this post to view the paper in its entirety.
Each year, the Mittal Institute welcomes four Visiting Artist Fellows from South Asia to its Cambridge office for eight weeks, connecting them to Harvard University’s vast wealth of intellectual resources. With the applications now open for the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 fellowships and due July 1, 2019, mid-career visual artists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives, or Sri Lanka have the opportunity to perform research at Harvard and interact with faculty and students, exploring critical issues in South Asia through the lens of art and design.
"I was born in a very literary family full of artists, poets, and writers. The art was in the blood, and then my uncle, who is also a visual artist internationally recognized, so he basically channeled my interest into visual arts. Since then I have been involved in visual arts," says Mahbub Jokhio, one of the Mittal Institute's newest Visiting Artist Fellows for Spring 2019.
“In 1947, British India was divided into Pakistan and India, resulting in the largest forced migration in the history of migration. Certain records say there were about three million who migrated and were displaced, but studies done at Harvard show that the numbers were much higher — about 10–13 million people. The question becomes: Who lives to tell the story?” asks Meena Sonea Hewett, Executive Director of the Mittal Institute. “Art as a medium is a great way to tell these stories, because it allows for multiple perspectives to be shared about the Partition and the feelings associated with it.”
The landlocked, extreme northeastern region of India is connected to the rest of the nation via a corridor of land between Bangladesh and Myanmar. In the 1960s, its tribal community rose in an insurgency against the Government of India, with songs their call-to-arms. Mittal Institute Raghunathan Family Fellow Roluahpuia explains how.