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  • Jim Vaughey

That Time We Visited The South Asian Art At the PEM

The South Asian Art collection at the PEM (Peabody Essex Museum) was in a special exhibit part of the museum, so we went in to check it out. I'm sure I've seen these before, maybe? But it was not familiar to me. The following pieces are the ones that jumped out to me. There was one more, but people were enjoying it and I did not want to bother them.

Maqbool Fida Husain's Untitled Piece from 1986. 1986! I was alive then! And doing things. According to his Wikipedia page he was a cubist. But that is not this piece. I love the lines, the color, and how he somehow gave these people expressions while also not showing any facial features! It is pretty clear just how talented this guy was and I am real happy we wandered into this exhibit space.

Kalal Laxma Goud, and his 1988 piece that is Untitled. You should really complete an Internet search for this guy. What drew me to this piece is, again, how expressive it is. Watercolor is some sort of magic to me, as someone that is so ham-fisted with paint and color. Which is what you get when you look at his other paintings which I also like. I can't tell if this woman is injured, annoyed, or bored. I'm hoping its just that the sun is in her eyes. the line drawings with the subtle color is just wonderful to look at. Again, assuming she is not injured, in that case, beautiful but makes me sad.

Ram Kumar's Unemployed Graduates. 1956. Here is a non Wikipedia page to learn more about him, it is from architectural digest. Young men ready to work, but it does not appear like there is work for them to do. It is a study in brown. Brown background, brown suits and then those ties! Looking at other pieces, I enjoyed that some of his oils looked like collage. Like the illustrations one would see in really old manuscripts. But this one is not architecture. It is four guys staring straight at you. There's no looking away and pretending you don't see them. You need to take notice. You can ignore them, but they know you saw them.

Jamini Roy, untitled, unknown date. Well, and then there is this dude. That face says "I know what you see and I am not going to put a shirt on". The facial hair is exquisitely maintained and he has attitude for days. He probably doesn't have a job and probably doesn't need a job. This web page, that has some of his historical facts about him, notes that he was popular among the middle-class. his style looks to be bold color and people, once again, staring straight at you. Its illustrative bordering on cartoonish, but not childish cartoons. It doesn't look serious, but as you look at it, you know it is. It is an inside joke that I don't understand.

Oh, I see I took a picture of a description of the artwork. These aren't pieces in their collection, but were collected by Chester and Davida Herwitz of Worcester. Well done you two! I know that would mean a lot to you, should you ever see this. Thank you for sharing these pieces of your collection with the PEM.

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