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US artists inspired by Indian works

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BENGALURU: American artists are increasingly looking to Indian artists for inspiration and this has been a trajectory which has been followed from as far back as 1893.

“The western-style paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, who is connected to the royal family of Travancore, with Indian subjects, inspired many in the USA. Swami Vivekananda, who was unexpectedly called up to speak in the USA, moved and inspired the Americans with his words,” said Gail Levin, Professor for Fine and Performing Arts, New York.

MsLevin was giving a lecture on “An overview of the Influence of Indian Art and Culture on American Artists from the World’s Colombian Exposition to Contemporary Art,” here on Wednesday.

Artworks by Indian and American artists were screened to demonstrate the influence of Indian culture on American art. The lecture was followed by an interactive session in which an Indo-American audience participated at the National Gallery of Modern Arts.

Ms Levin noted that artists from the West were inspired by paintings of Indian artists right from the late 18th century. “Watching Indian artworks and coming to India makes people open up and think in new ways,” she added.

“Knowing more about the paintings by Indian artists from an American professor itself portrays the power of the international cultural exchange platform,” said Mridula Panchami, an upcoming artist based in Chennai.

Ms Levin said that even though getting used to the cultural difference was one of the major challenges American artists face, the welcoming nature of the Indians attracted more from the States.

As an art historian, she has been collaborating with students of the Fine Arts College, Thiruvananthapuram, for a while now.


Ralph Alex Arakal
I MA Comm


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