Forms of Devotion in Indian Art
Editor: Sushma K Bahl
Contributors: Dr Karan Singh, George Michell, Devdutt Pattanaik, Desmond Lazaro, Jaya Jaitly, Annapurna Garimella, Kenneth R. Valpey, Prof. Madhu Khanna, Prof Mushirul Hasan, Steven Rosen, Martin Gurvich, & Sushma K Bahl.
Researcher: Archana B Sapra, Chetnaa Verma, & Ankita Gopal Sengupta
About the Book
Forms of Devotion – is a richly illustrated two-volume book- designed as a boxed set of 500+ pages each, to be co- published by Museum of Sacred Art, MOSA with Niyogi Books. It documents a substantive collection of Indian art held in MOSA, currently located at Belgium. Featuring nearly a thousand recently created works, including some hitherto unpublished and especially commissioned art, in varied manifestations, the book also contains a selection of seminal essays by eminent scholars that reflect on the diversity and depth of Indian art in the sacred genre.
Essays & Contents
Opening with a forward on the sacred and the spiritual in Indian art by distinguished scholar, parliamentarian and resident of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Dr. Karan Singh, the book leads onto a message by avid collector & founder of MOSA and Director of Gurvich Museum atMontevideo Martin Gurvich. Its edited curator-author Sushma K Bahl also contributes an essay on devotion as a continuum in Indian art. Other in-depth researched articles with illustrations include one on temples of godly abodes by author, architect, and archeologist Dr George Michell, while the theme of popular devotional culture is explored in a feature by author and mythologist Dr Devdutt Pattanaik. Material and techniques are the focus in the text by British artist and founder of the Traditional Arts Trust Dr.Desmond Lazaro while Dr Annapurna Garimella, art historian, designer and Founder & Managing Trustee ART writes on the vernacular in devotional Indian art; and Jaya Jaitly, Founder and President of Dastkari Haat Samiti on devotional crafts practices across India. The philosophy and theology underpinning devotional art is examined in an essay by Kenneth R. Valpey, Professor of theology at Bhaktivedanta College Durbuy and at Chinese University Hong Kong. Others invited to contribute to the publication include Prof. Madhu Khanna, on mandala/tantric/cosmic Indian arts; historian Prof Mushirul Hasan on historical perspective in devotional practices through the centuries; and author Steven Rosen, with a focus on icons and ideas in spiritual genre.
The connection between art and various spiritual philosophies, ideologies and living traditions as they continue to be practiced and celebrated or questioned, is highlighted in the scholarly and richly illustrated essays by the ten distinguished experts. They explore the theme and its spiritual resonance through the socio cultural milieu that it stems from. Examining it from diverse perspectives and aesthetics, their treatises bring forth fresh insights on the subject while also flagging the surrounding issues in a transparent and contemporary context.
The publication contains full-page colour reproductions of many of the artworks in MOSA collection. The around 200 artists in the collection, from around and beyond the country, are introduced in the book through their biographical sketches, and photographs. And the publication also includes some interviews, bibliography and other reference material, to make it a collectors’ delight and a useful stand-alone resource book, first of its kind, on spiritual and devotional art with its multilayered philosophical and cultural resonances.
The double volume publication is to be produced for worldwide distribution on 170gsm art paper and jackets in a boxed hardcover.