Keeping India’s legacy of erotic art alive

Posted March 28th, 2012 under India, Sculptures, Sexuality


“New Delhi: A small band of artists is exploring taboos of alternative sexuality, erotic love and the body as a medium of extreme expression of anger, passion and protest on the visual canvas. They are keeping alive the ancient legacy of eroticism in the Indian artistic tradition.”

Zeenews reports: “Sexuality has been a part of culture for hundreds of years in the temple sculptures of Khajuraho and in the visual portrayals of Krishna Leela,” Sushma K. Bahl, a senior art critic, historian and author, told reporters.

Bahl said, “During the Mughal period, the bold depiction of human body in Indian art was replaced by more subtle portrayals of women with the `zenana` culture”. In the Victorian era, eroticism was seen as a taboo in art, but it has revived after independence, the art historian said.

One of India`s leading photo-essayists, Sunil Gupta, showcased “Sun City”, a visual narrative about gay love across continents in the country for the first time last week.

Commissioned by the Centre Pompidou in Paris and funded by the capital-based Vadehra Gallery, the photo essay with 10 frames is an interpretation of a 1962 science fiction movie by Chris Marker, “La Jetee” or the “Jetty on the Pier” about the aftermath of holocaust, time travel and death.

Gupta has carried Marker`s theme of prophetic visions of death into a crossover story about an Indian brown-skinned man who goes to France to live with his gay lover. However, at the beginning of the journey, the Indian hero foresees his death.

In Paris, he discovers bath houses where he has several gay flings with men. The photoessay ends with the hero`s death outside the airport in Paris – the body lying sprawled with the Frenchman looking down on it.

“The death of the hero in my photographs could be from poverty, HIV/AIDS or romantic love. In the original, the death was from nuclear holocaust,” Gupta told reporters.

Gupta, who is working on a photography project based on Alice Munro`s short stories, believes art with unconventional themes like alternative realities is part of the mainstream now.”

Read on at Zeenews

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