Issue 4

Putting together this issue of artVarta, with its focus on SAARC countries, has indeed been a challenge.

While it was relatively easy to cover the contemporary art scenario in our neighbouring countries, it was a hard to source images of the contemporary art of Maldives and impossible to get in touch with artists or art writers in Afghanistan. However, when we wrapped up this issue we had many questions answered up front as well as between the lines.

What can a combined vision of 8 diverse countries of South Asia offer the world of art? How freely can Pakistani artists express their anguish and anxieties and negotiate the ups and downs of a politically volatile and socially conservative nation? Is the art of Maldives as breezy and “cool” as the tourists’ paradise? How have T-shirts contributed to the development of contemporary art in the island?

Is the art of Nepal still largely living in the past?

Where is the art of Bangladesh going?

In this issue of artVarta we have projected the top few contemporary artists from each region and looked closely at the dominant trends in the art of each country. While we have gone beyond borders we have also kept a kept a close watch on events at home.

S.H. Raza, the living legend is the artist in focus. Born in Madhya Pradesh and settled in Paris for decades, he has a wealth of experience which he has shared with Akhilesh in an exclusive interview. He spoke of his connect with India, his closeness to nature, his early years in Paris, his experiences and his deep interest in Hindu philosophy. Raza plans to return to his country of birth in the months ahead and complete the circle. To mark our unforgettable encounter with Raza we have a special edition of S.H. Raza notepads as a gift from artVarta.

In New Delhi there is action ahead. India Art Summit is slated for January 2011 and artVarta is proud to have been chosen to be media partner for this significant event that has, in two years, seen explosive growth.

We bring you more on books, personal experiences and recently concluded shows. Do enjoy the read.