1857–present

With increased British presence and political control on the subcontinent, new artistic forms and practices emerged. Government-run art and design schools that drew upon European curricula were increasingly popular in the second half of the nineteenth century. This period also includes the rise of anti-colonial nationalists movements and the work of avant-garde modernists. Following the end of colonial rule in 1947 and the establishment of India and Pakistan as independent nations, art speaks to the experiences of diverse artists and cultural practitioners who are actively working today both in South Asia and its global diaspora.

videos + essays

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Recording and representing India: the East India Company’s landscape practices
Recording and representing India: the East India Company’s landscape practices

The East India Company produced thousands of views that helped to consolidate its authority over much of South Asia in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Painting in Mithila, an introduction
Painting in Mithila, an introduction

Maithil painters use imagery from their own lives and share their personal perspectives in their artwork 

Photographic views of nineteenth-century India, an introduction 
Photographic views of nineteenth-century India, an introduction 

Far from a belated version of European photography, photography in India developed rapidly and in parallel with European photographic practices.

A Jain pilgrimage map of Shatrunjaya
A Jain pilgrimage map of Shatrunjaya

Cloth paintings (patas) mapped the topography of sacred Jain pilgrimage sites (tirthas)

Jas Charanjiva on “Don’t Mess With Me”
Jas Charanjiva on “Don’t Mess With Me”

After a violent crime in Delhi, Jas Charanjiva turned to art to confront harmful social conventions and raise awareness about the "boom" of new cultural attitudes towards women and women's safety.

The Singh Twins on the Impact of Empire
The Singh Twins on the Impact of Empire

The Singh Twins discuss the appropriation of British and Asian culture within the UK.

An interview with Sheela Gowda
An interview with Sheela Gowda

Behold (2009) consists of two contrasting materials, steel car bumpers and knotted human hair.

An interview with Sunil Gupta
An interview with Sunil Gupta

Photographer Sunil Gupta talks about how his work in the dark room helped him deal with his HIV positive diagnosis

An interview with Dayanita Singh
An interview with Dayanita Singh

Photographer Dayanita Singh explains how her photography books are like sculptures.

Naeem Mohaiemen
Naeem Mohaiemen

Naeem Mohaiemen works with film, installation and essays. Mohaiemen combines autobiography and history to explore how national borders create new peoples. His material includes the film archives and the way their contents can be lost, fabricated and reanimated.

The Artist Project: Nalini Malani
The Artist Project: Nalini Malani

"I'm attracted to the myths because, for me, it's a language to link with people."