Conference report: Showing, Telling, Seeing: Exhibiting South Asia in Britain 1900-Now

by Sarah Victoria Turner

  • 21 Jul 2016

At the end of June, the Paul Mellon Centre hosted art historians, critics, artists and curators from Asia, Europe and the United States to explore the ways in which exhibitions have provided challenging and provocative sites through which to think about artistic exchanges and the two-way traffic between Britain and South Asia. 

With 120 delegates, the response to the event was a positive one as it began on Thursday 30 June with a panel of five speakers who had organised, or been involved with, recent exhibitions. These included the art critic Geeta Kapur, Deepak Ananth, Iwona Blazwick, David Elliot and Sharmini Pereira. Generously sharing memories and personal reflections of their personal involvement in making such exhibitions happens.

Over the next two days, a series of research papers and responses formed panels on ‘Crafting Practice’, Institutional Histories’, ‘Competing Modernities’, ‘Exhibition Circuits/Networks of Display’ and ‘Other Stories’. Full details of all the speakers and their papers, as well as the conference organising committee, can be found online hereA recording of the event will also be made available on the Paul Mellon Centre’s website.

On the third day of the event, delegates visited exhibitions and discussed them in two locations. The first was at Parasol Unit where the artist Rana Begum gave us a tour of her exhibition ‘The Space Between’. Then we moved to Tate Modern for a public panel focusing on the work of the Indian artist Bhupen Khakhar, organised by the PMC in collaboration with Tate Modern.

A full report of the Showing, Telling, Seeing: Exhibiting South Asia in Britain 1900-Now conference will be published in the next issue of PMC Notes available from late September.

About the author

  • Sarah Victoria Turner

    Deputy Director for Research at the Paul Mellon Centre