A conversation between Gyan Prakash and Rahul Mehrotra around the exhibition: A Terrible Beauty by Meera Devidayal.
Gyan Prakash specializes in the history of modern India. His general field of research and teaching interests concerns urban modernity, the colonial genealogies of modernity, and problems of postcolonial thought and politics. He advises graduate students on modern South Asian history, colonialism and postcolonial theory, urban history, global history, and history of science. Gyan Prakash is the author of Bonded Histories: Genealogies of Labor Servitude in Colonial India, Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India, and Mumbai Fables . He has co-authored a book on world history, Worlds Together, Worlds Apart and has written several articles & volumes of essays. He was a member of its editorial collective of Subaltern Studies until 2008. From 2003 to 2008, he served as the director of Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies. Under him, the Davis Center conducted a two-year program on "Cities: Space, Society, and History". Educated in India and the United States, He completed his directorship of the Davis Center Davis Center with a one-year program on "Fear" in 2007-08. In addition to writing for scholarly journals, his reviews and essays also appear in general publications such as Times of India, Hindustan TImes, Asian Age, Hindu, India Today, Timeout Mumbai, American Scholar, and The NationRead more
Rahul Mehrotra is an architect, urbanist and educator who is the Founder Principal of RMA Architects and is Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Mehrotra has designed projects that range from recycling urban land and master planning in Mumbai to the design of art spaces, boutiques, weekend houses, factories, social institutes and office buildings across India – thereby engaging diverse issues, multiple constituencies and varying scales: from interior design and architecture to urban design, conservation and planning. See Featured Projects He studied at the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad graduated with a Master’s Degree in Urban Design with distinction from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard (1987). He also has been actively involved in civic and urban affairs in Mumbai, having served on commissions for historic preservation and environmental issues, with various neighborhood groups. He was the Executive Director (1994–2004) of the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), where he is now a Trustee and has taught at the University of Michigan (2003–2007) and at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at MIT (2007–2010). His writings include coauthoring Bombay—The Cities Within, Conserving an Image Center—The Fort Precinct in Bombay . In 2000, he edited a book for the UIA that earmarks the end of the century and is titled The Architecture of the 20th Century in the South Asian Region.Read more
Meera Devidayal Being an essentially urban person, her paintings are grounded in the plethora of images that a city throws up. Her early work in the seventies took a humorous look at everyday life, blurring the boundaries between the sacred and the profane..gods-and-goddesses and screen-idols with interchangeable faces featuring as calendar pictures and pin-ups, gods behind bars in bathroom-tiled temples. Her attempt has always been, and still continues, to turn the 'found image' into a visual metaphor, and charge it with a new meaning. Over the years, the images which seduced her have changed, disappeared, and even resurrected in a transformed state; but always, the grey area between appearance and reality in the human situation, has been central to her work. Some of her references have come from family photographs, newspaper pictures, and film posters; while objects and places were chosen for their associative and resonant quality. She has done many solo and group shows in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkotta, Baroda and Muscat. The city as a dream-destination of the migrant from the village, who gets lured into the web of seemingly limitless opportunity, without seeing its swampy underbelly, is reproduced in her recent video at her solo, Where I live (2009) at Chemould Prescott Road. The other works in this show, on recycled metal sheet, explore a range of players who straddle the two worlds and make life work with the help of a dream.Read more