Lecture: Realms of Earth and Sky
Four centuries of South Asian art
Realms of Earth and Sky, a Tang Teaching Museum exhibition of South Asian paintings from the 15th to the 19th century, will be the focus of tours, lectures, and even a workshop on miniature painting.
From the opulence of the Mughal court to stories of gods in human form, from battle scenes to intimate depictions of courtly love, the 43 historic paintings in the show offer visitors a chance to explore important cultural narratives that remain central to many belief systems on the Indian subcontinent. Portraiture, religious and literary texts, ragamala paintings, and works from both Mughal and Rajput traditions are represented in meticulously rendered tableaux contained in the small scale of manuscript or album pages.
Leading scholars of Rajput painting—Molly Aitken from the City College of New York and Dipti Khera from New York University—will lecture on pleasure in South Asian painting. The lecture is made possible by the Alfred Z. Solomon Residency Fund.Read More
“Their small scale actually makes them very powerful,” says Tang curator Rachel Seligman ’91. “The size, the detail, and the luscious colors create great intensity,” she says. The Malloy Wing galleries have been painted and lit to offer a feeling of warmth and intimacy for exploring works that originally would have been held in one’s hands.
Art history professor Saleema Waraich, a specialist in South Asia, notes that “South Asian artists were not interested, consciously, in realism as a pictorial mode of representation.” Also, because the works illuminate important texts—“religious manuscripts, literary ones, and there are even several paintings that come out of representation of musical modes”—they offer rich opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and learning.Other related events:
Artists Talha Rathore and Hiba Schahbaz will speak on the traditional techniques in Realms of Earth and Sky and how each has modernized and personalized them in her own practice. A specialist in miniature painting who studied at Pakistan’s National College of Arts, Rathore poetically describes dichotomies and anxieties in her work—for example, between the natural and the manmade, or between being an immigrant and feeling as if she belongs. Schahbaz, who also studied at Pakistan’s National College of Arts as well as Pratt Institute, investigates issues of self-identification: “By observing the symbolism and iconography of the cultures around me, I construct imagery that fuses the real with the imagined.” Thursday, April 16, 7:30 p.m., Tang Museum
Artists Talha Rathore and Hiba Schahbaz will offer two miniature-painting workshops. Admission is free but space is limited and reservations are required: call 518-580-8080. Friday, April 17, noon–2 p.m. and 2:30–4:30 p.m., Tang Museum