Tasvir Khana: Practing Indian Drawing and Painting

Date: February 19, 2021 - May 19, 2021


Phone: 4135972429
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Williams College Museum of Art
15 Lawrence Hall Drive
Williamstown, MA 01267

Tasvir Khana: Practing Indian Drawing and Painting

Tasvir Khana, a workshop model established in the Mughal court in the late 16th century, spread throughout northern India and continues to be relevant in India and Pakistan to this day. This exhibition supports Art Studio 344, a course in which participants learn to use materials and techniques of the traditional tasvir khana. The gallery serves as the main classroom and active studio space for the course.

Throughout the semester, students will learn from the variety of forms and techniques expressed in these eleven original artworks, which represent an area of strength from the museum’s collection. This type of deep engagement connects to the ethos of Object Lab in the adjacent gallery—a hybrid gallery-classroom that displays selections from the collection, connecting them to class concepts.

Each student selects a painting in this gallery and, over the course of the semester, creates a master copy. The class follows the traditional practice of sitting on the floor, using the cushions provided as well as boards for back support. The paintings on view are also hung lower than usual so they are more visible to the seated artists. In addition to honing technical skills, students also learn how to prepare natural pigments, paper, and brushes.

The class and exhibition delve into a range of topics, including botanical studies as an introduction to workshop practice, blending artistic styles from the Mughal court in northern Indian with local traditions, and the use of preparatory drawings to hone practice.


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