Saturday, March 11
10:00 a.m.–noon PT
Speaker: Laura Weinstein, Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
For over two thousand years, artists in the Indian Subcontinent have depicted Hindu deities through a wide range of media, frequently innovating when new techniques and materials became available or in response to social or religious changes. One such moment occurred during the 19th century in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata), when new technologies of reproduction and systems of representation brought by the British Raj—and its allied systems of commerce and culture—opened up new representational possibilities. This lecture will address what happened when lithography and other depictive tools entered a local visual ecosystem already rich with indigenous forms of painted and printed devotional imagery. The new forms of sacred and mythological imagery that Bengali artists created during this moment of transformation were, until recently, mostly excluded from the art historical canon. Celebrating and exploring them not only broadens our view of the history of Indian art and religion but also helps us to understand the ever-expanding universe of sacred images that we see in home, shop and office shrines around the globe today.
Laura Weinstein is Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Under Vidya Dehejia’s supervision she received her Ph.D. at Columbia University, where she researched Persian and Urdu manuscripts from the Qutb Shahi sultanate of Golconda. At the MFA she has lead the reinstallation of the Museum’s South Asian, Southeast Asian and Islamic art collections and has curated exhibitions including Ink, Silk & Gold: Islamic Art from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Megacities Asia, as well as numerous smaller exhibitions drawing on the MFA’s holdings. Among her most recent publications are MFA Highlights: Arts of South Asia, and “Worshippers of Nataraja Still” in Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in the Arts of South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Himalayan Region.
Please reserve your spot by clicking on this link. All participants will be sent the Zoom link and instructions via email once you secure your place. Space is limited.
Free for active South Asian Arts Council (renewed for 2022-2023) and SDMA members | $10 for all others
Sponsored by the South Asian Arts Council.
Featured at top right: Calcutta Art Studio, Gauranga Avatara/Kali, about 1890, Kolkata, lithograph. Museum of Fine Art, Boston.