Art of India... Reclaiming... the Present

Indian Art Reclaims its Past in a New Way

Sep 20, 2018   |   New Delhi

To understand the global acceptance of contemporary Indian art we must understand how the neo-globalization of art in a multipolar world has changed the meaning of what is universal and what is ethnic radically after the Eurocentric vision of the last 200 years began to crumble after two major wars that have reopened the door to a world where global no longer means occidental exclusively. In fact, Indian art and Indian products like the famous Damascus steel, Morocco leather and cotton cloth found in the pyramids or described by Herodotus as part of the Persian army at the battle of Thermopylae or Aesop’s fables were all known to and admired by the ancient world. In fact, the fables of the Arabic Calila wa Dimna, were variants of the Sanskrit Hitopadesha or its Persian translation, the Mirror for Princes. Later, this was translated into French by Joan of Navarre while it found another path to Northern Nigeria in the Hausa novel, Gan Doki. In the same way, we find an ivory figure of the Godess Laxmi in the ruins of Pompei, and recently have seen the exhibition of the works of Rembrandt that were influenced by Mughal miniatures from his collection, whose figures came alive in a different framework in a number of his Biblical paintings. Today the world finds itself once more in the same framework again after a long period of our recent history when the global and universal standards of art and culture were limited to a small minority of the population of the world. Today’s concept of the universal no longer hangs on the words of self appointed judges unable to comprehend the wide scope of cultural expression that we can approach with the click of a button to widen our own horizons as human beings. This exhibition shows a wide range of contemporary artistic expressions from different parts of India that are different in style and materials. They not only reflects the variety of our works of art but also their capacity to find a place in a modern world where originality rules supreme as the artist no longer depends on patrons but has a message to communicate to the world. This could not have been achieved without the artist having acquired the confidence of a liberated spirit by experiencing the collapse of the old empires. This confidence is reflected in the capacity to tackle different technical problems in his or her own way in a society that permits much more than the artist had freedom for in the past.