SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

This curio called 'Indian Miniature' c. 2000

Varunika Saraf (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

Date: 12 December 2012Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 12 December 2012Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B111

Type of Event: Seminar

In the bazaars across India one finds 'miniature paintings', as quintessential visual embodiments of courtly grandeur and as indexes of craft skills. These mass-produced copies of court paintings now exclusively painted for the tourist market, seem at a glance to be escapees from the realm of art history, which have managed to elude their temporal and contextual specificity. This paper examines ways to engage with these types of paintings that do not fit existing paradigms of popular, folk, or mainstream art.  Are they curiosities, the residues left by a fast-moving history, or products of postcolonial revival, knowledge once lost and now revived? By focusing on what happens in the course of writing art histories, I examine how art historians’ interactions with their interlocutors have variously informed post-Independence redefinition of the Indian miniature.

Organiser: Crispin Branfoot

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