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Multiple Modernities: India, 1905-2005

June 14–December 7, 2008

This exhibition brings together over twenty-five drawings, prints, and watercolor paintings to explore contemporary art on the Indian subcontinent over the past century, a period that witnessed dramatic social and artistic transformations. Multiple Modernities focuses on the diversity of sources, traditions, and experiments in visual culture that emerged from South Asia as the region moved from British colony to independent nation-states to world economic power. Eloquent, powerful, vivid, and sometimes disturbing, these works express a dynamic history and touch on issues as diverse as the expression of national identity, the interplay of figuration and abstraction, and the artistic collective versus the individual artist. Many of South Asia's preeminent artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are represented, including Jamini Roy, A. R. Chughtai, F. N. Souza, Bhupen Khakhar, Nasreen Mohamedi, M. F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta, Gieve Patel, and Sudhir Patwardhan. Never-before-exhibited works from the Museum's collection include a rare group of paintings and drawings by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, two delicate nonobjective drawings by V. S. Gaitonde, and the recently acquired Sabari with Her Birds, a stunning collage-lithograph by Atul Dodiya.

Organizer and Sponsor

This exhibition is organized and made possible by a Halpern-Rogath Curatorial Seminar at the University of Pennsylvania.

Main Building


Michael W. Meister (W. Norman Brown Professor, University of Pennsylvania) and Darielle Mason (The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) with University of Pennsylvania students Beth Citron, Nachiket Chanchani, Neil Ghosh, Jenna Levy, and Nyssa Liebermann.

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