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Jugalbandi [Duet]: Power and Pleasure in Indian Painting

November 29, 2018

On Saturday, November 17th , 2018, the South Asia center hosted a symposium called Jugalbandi [Duet]: Power and Pleasure in Indian Painting. Sonal Khullar aptly began the evening with a detailed introduction informing the audience about the ways which the esteemed guest presenters have contributed to the critical analysis of Rajput and Mughal painting.

To begin, Yael Rice, Assistant Professor of the History of Art and Asian Languages and Civilizations at Amherst College, presented on Mughal painting as a performance in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This was followed by a presentation by Debra Diamond, the Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on Maharaja Vijai Singh, Bhakti traditions connected to re-enactment and performance, and an expansion of audience and a change in the viewership experience in Jodhpur painting in the eighteenth century. Last but not least, Dipti Khera, Assistant Professor of South Asian Art at New York University focused on art in Udaipur and its ability to
help the viewer develop a sensibility about the moods of historical times in that region.

After the symposium presenters, guests, and others in attendance gathered for a reception in the Walker-Ames room in Kane Hall. Ethnomusicology visiting artist Ganesh Rajagopalan lead a group of musicians in an alluring performance of Indian classical music. Rajoagopalan, a master violinist, but also a musician and teacher who has moved beyond any one musical genre or region lead a group of musicians who performed with instruments ranging from the Indian classical Veena to the more contemporary electric guitar.

The sounds of the instruments and voices of the singers harmonized and served as companions while the crowd ruminated on the paintings and discussions of art and life in the Mewar and Marwar, Rajput and Mughal ruled areas of Rajasthan between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Watch a video of the symposium below.