The reverberations of a giant passing are almost always felt. This time, it’s in the guise of Maqbool Fida Husain, arguably India’s greatest Modern painter. Husain, who was the artist incarnate, India’s resident Picasso and a household name throughout India and other parts of the world, passed away on 9 June, at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, at the age of 95 as a Qatari citizen.
Sharmistha Ray, “The man who painted India: What Husain was all about,” for First Post, 9 June 2011.
Sharmistha Ray’s essay “Curating in the Ghetto,” out now in Indian Contemporary Art Journal, Vol. 2/Issue IV 2010, p.50-51
Independent curator Sharmistha Ray talks about her first independently curated exhibition, A Place of Their Own, and why she selected to ghettoize South Asian-American Diaspora artists.
A Place of Their Own: An Exhibition of South Asian-American Diaspora Artists was borne out of my own personal biography of geographic and cultural migration. Even so, or perhaps because of my multiple migrations, I am somewhat reticence about ethnic labels – especially when they become buzzwords or catchphrases. Take Indian contemporary art, for example. In a few short years since 2005, Indian artists are everywhere on the global art scene. The cause may have been globalization, and while it has opened up a wealth of possibilities for Indian artists, it has also produced a fashionable form of ghettoizing of Indian art in exhibitions with names like Edge of Desire (New York, 2005), Horn Please (Bern, 2007-2008), Chalo! India (Tokyo, 2008-2009) and Indian Highway (London, 2008-2009). The foreigner’s gaze, however flattering at first, has stripped naked its Indian subject only to label it an idealized nude. Exotic but far removed from reality.
Soaring art prices have an uncanny effect: a temporary state of euphoria triggers instant amnesia. If Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction results for Indian art in New York in March were encouraging, then their results in London last month were nothing short of exhilarating.
Sharmistha Ray, “From the base to Basel” in The Economic Times, all-India edition. Mon 28 June 2010.
From the base to Basel
This June,India made a splash in art fair market with a record five Indian galleries being invited to exhibit at Art Basel. And it is not about business, but about beauty that is making its own silent, subtle and sublime statement.