Passages From India

Main Gallery
Virtual Tour available September 23

With its great cultural diversity, India offers more than a single ceramic tradition or history. It offers multiple local and regional traditions in addition to many different characteristics that reflect India’s social, religious, and cultural richness. India’s vibrant ceramic culture encompasses functional, as well as sculptural, work; objects made for everyday use and domestic décor, ceremonial and architectural creations, and now, installations on the cutting edge of contemporary artistic exploration.

Contemporary Indian art is finally gaining the attention it deserves on the world stage. This exhibition will serve to bring equally-deserved attention to contemporary Indian studio ceramics. Studio ceramics in India has its own distinctive history, related to developments in the United States, Europe, and East Asia, but with significant differences. In addition to the extraordinary social and cultural complexity of India and its native traditions, there is the enormous impact of the British Colonial Period on art institutions and art education. Over roughly the last hundred years, traditionalism met modernism, and local, regional, and national traditions met international trends, with remarkable results. As Kristine Michael has noted, Indian pottery has been “at the crux of craft, art, and modern industry.” In recent decades in particular, globalism has played a major role in transforming Indian art and ceramics. To take but one important example, an international ceramics triennial premiered in 2018 in Jaipur. The relationship between artists in India and abroad, as in many other countries, has become more fluid. Indian-born artists may go to the UK, the United States, or elsewhere for their higher art education, and may not necessarily return to live in India. This exhibition will include artists who continue to live in India as well as some who are part of the Indian diaspora.

The exhibition will not provide a survey of historical Indian ceramics or contemporary work that principally continues folk traditions. It will feature contemporary studio ceramics with an emphasis on sculptural, rather than functional, work. Featured artists will include several who do both, and others whose primary emphasis now is on gallery or architectural installations rather than small-scale individual works. Contemporary Indian studio ceramics are an exciting area of artistic creation full of skill, energy, and daring. This exhibition will open a new window on Indian art and life.

About the Artists

Artists featured in the exhibition are Reyaz Badaruddin, Mudita Bhandari, Ashwini Bhat, Sharbani Das Gupta, Vineet Kacker, Shaurya Kumar, Shampa Shah, and Madhvi Subrahmanian.*

*With respect for the daily consequences of the current pandemic-related health crisis in India, this artist list is open to amendment.

Virtual Tour


Related Events

Inspiration and Process
During this remote event, Mumbai-born, Singapore-based artist Madhvi Subrahmanian will share her background, inspirations, and process from her home and studio in Singapore. Subrahmanian’s studio process and subject matter are led by space (physical and mental), and informed by her circumstances and life’s events. Drawing from her cultural context, she subtly weaves her life experience into her work. Join Subrahmanian as she shares about her work and process, and for a timely discussion on identity, space, and inspiration.

XV1: Saturday, September 25, 9 am CT
FREE, Remote Login

Passages From India Panel Discussion
Join us remotely to observe a panel discussion of artists exhibiting in Passages From India, moderated by curator Robert Silberman. Get a glimpse into the art and life of these artists and the energetic, skillful, and daring area of contemporary Indian studio ceramics.

XV3: Saturday, October 9, 9 am CT
FREE, Remote Login
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