"The morals of the West and the perception of the Nude as sinfull sunk deep into Indian culture during the time British rule. The Nude, a dark-skinned one, became the subject of choice for the Progressive Art Group whose exhibitions around the time of the Independence of India in 1947."
The Nude in Indian Art, From the Antique to Independence
13 - 17 October 2021
At Frieze Masters 2021 (stand B05) we will be presenting sculptures from the 10th - 12th centuries and pairing them with works by some of the foremost Indian artists of the 20th century, including Francis Newton Souza, Maqbool Fida Husain and Akbar Padamsee, amongst others.
"In Indian Art the Nude is everywhere, she is found in religious contexts and in everyday life. This has shocked and alarmed the West, who wonders why a temple should be adorned with graphically copulating couples?
"Yet to pre-colonial Indians, there was no mystery here. For ancient Hindus and Buddhists, there was no association of women with sin; and in all India's voluminous scriptures there is no Eve. Women were associated with fertility, abundance and prosperity rather than temptation, and there is an open embrace of sexuality as one route to the divine: "In the embrace of his beloved, a man forgets the whole world, everything both within and without," states the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
"The morals of the West and the perception of the Nude as Sinfull sunk deep into Indian culture during the Empire or the Raj. The Nude, a dark-skinned one, became the subject of choice for the Progressive Art Group whose exhibitions around the time of the Independence of India in 1947. Francis Newton Souza wrote; "I was… brought up (by the colonials) to believe that Hindu Sculpture and Mogul Paintings were graven images of the heathen." It was to classical miniatures and sculpture that Souza and his contemporaries looked for inspiration."