Symposium Looks at Art and Politics in South Asia

Symposium Looks at Art and Politics in South Asia

A public symposium to be held this Saturday will explore how ancient works of art and architecture evoke strong passions and political responses in contemporary South Asia, as evidenced by the Taliban's destruction of Buddhist statues in Afghanistan and Hindu nationalists' demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque in India.

The event, "Art and Politics in South Asia," will take place on Oct. 5 from 1-5 p.m. in Higgins 310, sponsored by the Norma Jean Calderwood Chair of Islamic and Asian Art and the Fine Arts Department.

Calderwood Professors Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair, two of the world's foremost scholars of Islamic and Asian art, will offer opening and closing remarks. The husband-and-wife team also will lead a discussion with the symposium's three featured speakers, all experts in South Asian art, cultural and political history.

Frederick M. Asher, professor and chairman of the Department of Art History at the University of Minnesota, will speak on "From the Land of Broken Buddhas: Bamiyan in Context." A specialist in South Asian art, he serves as chairman of the American Institute of Indian Studies Board of Trustees and is the author of several books, including The Art of Eastern India: 300-800. He is studying the architecture of contested religious space and the patterns of trade as they relate to works of art in India.

Catherine B. Asher, also an art history professor at Minnesota, will present "In the Image of Man: Islamic Art in India." A noted authority on the artistic interactions between Hindus and Muslims in the Indian subcontinent, she is the author of The Architecture of Mughal India, a volume in the Cambridge History of India, and chairs the Committee on Art and Archaeology of the American Institute of Indian Studies.

Wesleyan University Professor of Art History Phillip B. Wagoner will speak on "Architecture and Politics in the Deccan, Past and Present." Wagoner is an authority on the architecture of south India and the author of Tidings of the Kings: A Translation and Ethno-Historical Analysis of the Rayavahakamu. His current research interests include architecture and urban history of the South Indian Vijayanagara empire.

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a reception at which the audience can meet with the speakers informally and continue the discussion.

 

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