5000 Years of Indian Art demystifies the story of India art spread over the millennia. This visually stunning book is a rare example of a volume that offers a panoramic view of Indian art from the pre-historic times to contemporary period. The absorbing narrative woven around the wide ambit of the creative continuum links different predominant artistic genres like prehistoric art, ancient Indian art of Vedic and Buddhist traditions, temple art, Mughal miniature painting, colonial art, modern Indian art, and contemporary art that were prevalent in different eras instead of formally demarcated historical periods. The illustrated tale encompasses the entire gamut ranging from the earliest primitive markings on stones, caves, and frescos to exquisite paintings, sculptures, modern photography, and finally crafted artefacts to media-inspired work, popular installations, and other forms of contemporary art.
The significant works discussed in this book include Bhimbetka cave paintings, notable figures and sculptures from the Indus Valley Civilization, Ajanta and Ellora cave paintings, Khajuraho and Konark temple art, Mughal miniature paintings from key texts like Akbarnama, portraiture, among others. There is also a critical appreciation of select works created by renowned artists like Mazhar Ali Khan, Raja Ravi Varma, Lala Deen Dayal, Nandalal Bose, F.N. Souza, Raghu Rai, K.G. Subramanyam, M. F. Husain, S.H. Raza, Tyeb Mehta, Thukral and Tagra, Anish Kapoor, Subodh Gupta, Mithu Sen, et al.
The book displays around 200 select masterpieces of art sourced from museums, galleries, and private collections around India and the world that celebrate Indian art. The essays; art historical map; timeline delineating developments in politics, culture, and art in different eras; images with lucid elucidations; box stories make the book both informative and interesting to scholars, students, and anyone with an interest in Indian art.
The history of Indian art is as old as the civilization itself and every major period of history has given it newer modes of expression and forms of art. This book successfully captures all the myriad influences that have enriched Indian art over the years.
Sushma K. Bahl MBE, is an independent arts consultant, writer, and curator of cultural projects. She headed the British Council’s arts and culture policy and programme for India until April 2003. She has organized many exhibitions on Indian art in several countries and was involved in planning the first ever ‘Festival of India’ held in Britain in 1982.
As a freelancer, curated a series of seminal art projects and exhibitions that won the IHC Art India Award. She was the Co-director for Indian arts at the Gwacheon Hanmadang Festival in South Korea 2004, Guest Director for XI Triennale-India 2005, Co-curator for the V9/U9 Indo-UK Digital Art Project, Project Consultant for Bharat Rang Mahotsav X11, and a Jury Member for the 14th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh in 2010.