Art historian delivers spl lecture on art history at RGU

RONO HILLS, 18 Mar: Eminent art historian and former dean of Delhi-based Ambedkar University’s School of Culture & Expression, Shivaji K Panikkar, recently visited Rajiv Gandhi University’s (RGU) fine arts & music department.

On 16 March, Panikkar participated in a long discussion with the BFA students about their works, and shared his views on contemporary aesthetics in visual art trends, colour symbolism, and the “ways of seeing,” the university informed in a release.

The next day, he delivered a lecture on ‘Basic categories of art history and its relevance for visual art practice’, which was attended by, among others, RGU fine arts & music department coordinator Prof Simon John and Arunachal Akademi of Fine Arts general secretary Kompi Riba.

Panikkar dwelt on the “definition of fine arts and the Lalit Kala Akademi according to the 19th century British and Indian schools.”

Defining art as “a human faculty,” he said that “art is a result of the human tendency for constant innovation – for instance, creating a stone tool from the Paleolithic period to handling technology, from weaving, and cooking to solving any social, cognitive issue as per requirement.”

“However,” he said, “the modern understanding of art is strictly institutional, depending on the modes of making art practices at various geographic locations and periods.”

He then spoke on “the purpose of art history for artists in the making – whether it’s for its own sake or if it has a significant role in moulding the present art practices and trends,” the release said.

It quoted Panikkar as saying that “the answer lies in the inheritance of art, the long time-frame of the history of art-making, which can only be found on the pages of art history.”

He spoke also about various mediums and methods that artists have been using throughout history and how they transformed from traditional methods like painting, sculpting, drawing, and sketching to collage, assemblage, found objects, new/multimedia, web art, performances, etc.

He further dwelt on “the distinctions between varied ideas in art, starting from arts and crafts, crafts and folk/popular arts, fine arts and visual arts, and distinctions between ancient and pre-modern art aesthetics to modern and contemporary aesthetics and ideology,” the release stated, adding that Panikkar “then went on to define how art is impacted by time, quality, style, and category, according to ideology, icons, narratives and geographical spaces, religious orientation, and social growth from time to time.”

Panikkar also enumerated various chronologies of art progressions, and roles played by allied departments like archaeology, museology, art criticism, etc, the release said.

He presented “an Indian miniature painting, displaying the narrative of Radha-Krishna and how the pre-modern artists used two-dimensional spaces to show various times, emotions, and events at a time and direct the young artists to take the liberty to tell their own stories in their unique ways,” the release stated.