Forms of Devotion in Indian Art

The Blue Route, Brussels

The Blue Route, Brussels

Building on the success of Museum of Sacred Art (MOSA)’s earlier volume Living Traditions in Indian Art, a new illustrated large format book of about 500 pages with contributions by Indian and international experts will be co-published probably with Mapin in India. The book accompanying the Forms of Devotion collection, exhibition and film will be launched around October 2014, first in India and then internationally.

Focusing on the creative diversity and depth of devotional genre- meditative, ethereal, and spiritual- across various faiths- as a divine act, and a symbol of the socio cultural milieu that it stems from, the project encompasses varied artistic manifestations. The traditional, folk, tribal, popular, and contemporary art, including some new media expressions, in myriad modes; feature work by nearly 200 artists represented in MOSA collection and Forms of Devotion exhibition. The book celebrates multiplicity, diversity, and vibrancy of the living genre, contextualized in the history, philosophy and ideology of the culture as practised even today.

With a forward by distinguished scholar, parliamentarian and President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Dr Karan Singh, and a message from the founder of MOSA and an avid art collector Martin Gurvich, the publication will be edited by curator-author Sushma K Bahl, who will also write an essay on devotion as a continuum in Indian art. The book will feature in-depth researched articles with illustrations by renowned scholars, each focusing on a different perspective and aesthetics within devotional Indian art. While author, architect, and archeologist Dr George Michell, has agreed to write on architecture of godly abodes, the theme of popular devotional culture will be explored in a feature by author and mythologist Dr Devdutt Pattanaik. Material and techniques will be the focus in the text by British artist and founder of the Traditional Arts Trust Desmond Lazaro, and the philosophy underpinning devotional art will be examined in an essay by Prof of theology at Bhaktivedanta College Durbuy and The Chinese University of Hong Kong Kenneth R. Valpey. Others invited to contribute include Joan Cummins, Curator of Asian Art at the Brooklyn Museum, on different avatars and divine forms, Vidya Dehejia Professor of Indian Art at Columbia University, an essay around the sacred and the sensuous in Indian artistic practice, Christiane de Lauwer, Indologist and curator at MAS from Antwerp on mandala/tantric/cosmic Indian arts, and Annapurna Garimella, art historian, designer and Founder & Managing Trustee ART on the vernacular in devotional Indian art.

Produced in a hardcover, jacket and slipcase, on 170gsm art paper, the publication will feature full-page colour reproductions of art works as well as biographies and photographs of the artists in the collection. Besides the book will also include some interviews, bibliography and other reference material, to make it a collectors’ delight and a useful resource book on Indian art in the devotional genre.