From Representable Object to Representing Subject: Women in the Modern and Contemporary Art of India

As part of AAA’s teacher professional development programme, the 2018 Teaching Labs series discusses women in art history. Teachers, students, and members of the public are welcome to join a talk on women in art in India.

Following a talk on women in art in India, a workshop introduces teachers to related materials in AAA’s Collection, while a tour of the artist Nilima Sheikh’s exhibition is also offered to participants. 

 

Talk | 2–3:15pm

Speaker: Sneha Ragavan, AAA Researcher

Language: English

This talk attempts to trace the emergence of a feminist subjectivity in the representations of women in the arts of India. It begins with an overview of how women conventionally figured in modern art history of India as objects of representation. In contrast to this, there has emerged the work of women practitioners who not only critiqued such modes of representation, but also heralded new aesthetic sensibilities attentive to the gendered nature of artistic discourses.

The talk explores the works and contributions of specific artists such as Rummana Hussain, Nalini Malani, Nilima Sheikh, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Arpana Caur, Anupam Sud, Navjot Altaf, Sheba Chhachhi, Madhvi Parekh, and Meera Mukherjee, to name a few. It contextualises their practices within broader historical frames, movements, themes, and categories from art, cinema, and literature. These include histories of nationalism and partition, migration and displacement, the women’s movement, craft and traditional art, the gendered body, notions of beauty, violence and the gaze, among others, for how integral they were to shaping the emergence of a feminist aesthetics.

A tour of the Nilima Sheikh Exhibition on view at AAA Library will be offered to teachers who sign up for the talk, from 1:30–2pm. AAA Public Programmes Lead, Özge Ersoy, will lead the tour.

 

Workshop | 3:30–5:30pm

*Exclusive for teachers

Facilliators:

Susanna Chung, AAA Programmes Manager and Head of Learning & Participation

Elaine Lin, AAA Collection Manager

Language: English and Cantonese 

The workshop promotes a learning community for teachers that builds on knowledge in contemporary art and develops new tools for different educational settings. The  talk will be summarised into keywords for group discussions, as teachers consider methods of sharing the knowledge in classroom settings. The discussion will be accompanied by items from AAA's Collection, which includes publications, artwork documentation, and other primary source material.

 

Registration

Free admission. Registration is required.

Teachers from all disciplines, including visual arts, liberal studies, history, and cultural educators are welcome. No prior knowledge of art is required.

Students and general public are also welcome to join the talk.

Image: Rummana Hussain, <i>Living on the Margins</i>, performance at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, 1995.
Image: Rummana Hussain, Living on the Margins, performance at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, 1995.
©Estate of Rummana Hussain Courtesy Talwar Gallery New York / New Delhi

 

Sneha Ragavan is Researcher at Asia Art Archive in India. She oversees the Bibliography of Modern and Contemporary Art Writing project. She holds a MA in Art History and Aesthetics from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University of Baroda. Ragavan recently submitted her PhD thesis on twentieth century architectural modernisms in India to the Department of Cultural Studies, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad.

 

Learning & Participation Programme Sponsor: 

Relevant content

NilimaShiekh_List
Lines of Flight: Nilima Sheikh Archive
Programmes

Lines of Flight: Nilima Sheikh Archive

Exhibition: 22 Mar–30 Jun 2018; Exhibition Tour: Sat, 19 May and Sat, 16 Jun 2018

Image: Jyoti Bhatt, Documentatation of Life Study Class at the Department of Painting, 1970.
Towards Modernism: Art of India from 1950 to 1990
Resources | For Educators

Towards Modernism: Art of India from 1950 to 1990

WATCH: This talk explores concepts central to modernist artistic practice in India between 1950 and 1990

list_representingobject
From Representable Object to Representing Subject: Women in the Modern and Contemporary Art of India
Resources

From Representable Object to Representing Subject: Women in the Modern and Contemporary Art of India

Educator Programmes | Talk