AoN in Architectural Digest India

January 1, 2023

AoN is delighted to announce a recent collaboration between one of the founders of AoN, Suresh Sharma and renowned Indian designer and collector, Vikram Goyal. In an unprecedented coming together of contemporary design and the traditional art of pichvai painting, the annual January/February “Art” issue of the magazine Architectural Digest India will feature their collaborative work on the cover, accompanied by an editorial piece by Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose, pichvai scholar and Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, and Himalayan Art at The Art Institute of Chicago, USA. Images by the Mumbai-based photographer Hashim Badani executed during a multi-day photo shoot in and around Nathdwara accompany Ghose’s article. On the cover, Goyal’s design, which is drawn from a traditional morkuti theme, is masterfully reimagined by Sharma as a pichvai painting. Presented in rich crimson, verdant greens, and vivid blues, Sharma’s interpretation features majestic peacocks and peahens posed amidst a flowing river and abstracted landscape set against a lush tropical backdrop. 

The January/February issue of Architectural Digest India is on newsstands now.. Click HERE to view the story online.

The Largest Pichvai Ever

December 10, 2022

At 27 x 57 feet, Kamal Kunj is one of the largest ever commissioned pichvai paintings. Executed by Raghunandan Sharma and a team of artists from Nathdwara, this work is part of an ongoing project by the Reliance Foundation to revive the 400-year-old art form native to Nathdwara,Rajasthan. Pichvai paintings are an intricate depiction of festivities, passing seasons, and other ambient elements. Kamal Kunj hangs in good company next to artworks by such fellow luminaries as Yayoi Kusama, Reena Kallat, N.S. Harsha,and Jagannath Panda at the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre which will open to the public in March 2023. Click here to read more about this exciting work and receive updates.

Artists of Nathdwara repainting the Temple of Shrinathji

October 5, 2022

Between Dussehra and Diwali, the artists of Nathdwara gathered under the guidance of the Painting mukhiyaji, Parmanand Sharma, to repaint the entire temple of Shrinathji at Nathdwara. Old and young artists, from the most famous to those just starting out gathered to perform their personal seva (loving devotion). It is regarded as a big honor for their entire family to have the opportunity to be able to perform this annual seva for every artist of Nathdwara. The artists collectively repainted all the wall paintings that grace the temple and other adjacent buildings. This task was finished before Diwali to give the temple a completely refreshed appearance in time for the start of the Hindu new year.We are grateful to Goswami Chi. 105 Shri Vishal Bawa for kindly sharing this image with us.

Designers + Artisans lecture

May 10, 2022

The Washington D.C.-based Designers + Artisans Textile Club hosted a program dedicated to the unique Indian art form of pichvai painting. The art form originated in the Rajasthani temple town of Nathdwara in the 17th century. It is specific to the Pushtimarg, a devout sect of Hinduism which venerates Lord Krishna in the form of an eight-year-old boy known as Shrinathji. The virtual lecture titled Pichvais: Divine Textile Hangings of Indian was presented by the esteemed scholar Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose, Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, and Himalayan Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Ghose, a world-renowned expert on the art of pichvai, curated a seminal exhibition on the topic titled Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015-16. 

In this beautifully illustrated lecture, Dr. Ghose delivered a stunning visual narrative providing her audience with a concrete foundation for understanding the key elements crucial to the past histories, current situation, and future ambitions of the creators of these masterpieces—the Artists of Nathdwara.

Fulbright-Nehru Grant recipient Aleksandra Matic

April 21, 2022

Aleksandra Matic, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has won a Fulbright–Nehru award for 2022/23 to collaborate with the Artists of Nathdwara (AoN), a multigenerational collective of pichvai artists in the temple town of Nathdwara, Rajasthan. The focus of her fellowship will be to produce a documentary based on the lives of these pichvai artists, the history of their painting, and on the town of Nathdwara. Based on her proposal titled The Artists of Nathdwara: Preserving the Tradition of Pichvai Painting, this documentary aims to familiarize the world with the art of the pichvai and help the artists gain global recognition for their work in preserving this unique tradition. She currently resides in Nathdwara and is working with AoN on several satellite projects in conjunction with her documentary. Her current projects include documenting oral and visual traditions, producing content for AoN’s website and social media, developing tourism initiatives and laying the groundwork for a community-based artist centre in Nathdwara.

The Artists Of Nathdwara website launch

February 18, 2021

The Artists of Nathdwara website, a joint initiative by Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose and Project Virasat of Enactus SRCC, was launched in an online event on 18th February 2021. The event was attended by many renowned people from the fields of art, literature and politics from India and the US.

In order to provide the Pichvai artists of Nathdwara with a platform to bring out their art to a global platform, the Artists of Nathdwara website was launched in a successful online event. The event was attended by Goswami Chi. 105 Shri Vishal Bawasri of Nathdwara, C.P. Joshi (MLA, Nathdwara), artist and author Amit Ambalal, Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose (Alsdorf Associate Curator, Art Institute of Chicago, USA), the team members of Enactus SRCC, and the Nathdwara artists along with invited guests from India and abroad. The event highlighted how the Pichvai artists of Nathdwara continue to face problems in sustaining this 400-year old art form. Mr. C.P. Joshi, the MLA of Nathdwara called it  “a great initiative to give the Pichvai artists the recognition they deserve.”

Shri Vishal Bawasri of Nathdwara brought out the significance of Pichvai paintings and said, “Pichvai is not just an art but a form of devotion to Shrinathji.” Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose, who has been associated with the Nathdwara artists for more than 8 years said, “This website will enable the artists to sustain this art form and help them enormously.” This website for the artists,by the artists, and of the artists is empowerment in the truest sense. It takes a step forward to give the centuries old Pichvai art traditions a global platform which it richly deserves.

Making the Desert Bloom: Painted Textiles for a Krishna Temple

October 14, 2018

This lecture discussed the history and images of the Pushtimarg sect followed by comparisons of the modern pichvais on exhibition in Pigment on Cloth with their 19th and 20th century prototypes. The work of the Nathdwara artist, Sukhdev Kishandas, patriarch of the Sharma family and holder of the prestigious title of painting mukhiya (chief) of the Shrinathji Temple (1881 – 1916) was also discussed.

Art Institute of Chicago Curator Speaks on the Art of Indian Pichvai Painting

September 13, 2018

Dr. Ghose greeted visitors in the Hillestad Textiles Gallery after her talk on September 13 entitled “The Artists of Nathdwara: Traditions and Contexts”, in conjunction with the exhibition Pigment on Cloth: Tradition, Family and the Art of Indian Pichvai Painting, the Fall 2018 offering of the Hillestad Textiles Gallery. Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose is the Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan and Islamic Art at the Art Institute of Chicago and she continues to work with the traditional artists of Nathdwara, helping to promote an understanding of their work both within India and abroad. “It’s important that these artist’s be supported, encouraged and mentored as they work to create viable revenue streams to support their historic practice,” said Ghose. “Theirs is a niche market, certainly, but I do believe that with the right counsel, the artists of Nathdwara can build a healthy painting-based economy for themselves. This exhibition in the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery is one example of how they can maximize opportunities to bring their work to an international audience.”

Pigment on Cloth: Tradition, Family and the Art of Indian Pichvai Painting

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln, USA
August 12 – November 16, 2018

This special exhibition curated by Professor Michael James introduced the audience of Lincoln, Nebraska, to the historic Indian practise of painting pichvais. The exhibition presented the work of one contemporary family of artists of Nathdwara, the family of Dr Yugal Kishor and Shyam Sundar Sharma, representing the work of the fifth, sixth and seventh generations of pichvai artists of this one family.

Dr. Anita B. Shah’s discussion on Deccani pichvais

January 23, 2018

Dr. Anita Shah is an independent scholar, a descendant of an important Pushtimarg family from Hyderabad, and an expert on Deccani pichvais. On 23rd January 2018, she conducted an event where she discussed Deccani pichvai paintings with the artists.

Reliance Foundation Event with Mrs. Nita Ambani

 August 31, 2016

Mrs. Nita Ambani, Chairperson and Founder, Reliance Foundation has played a catalytic role in resurrecting the lost glory of Pichvai Paintings. At an exclusive event at Ahmedabad, Mrs. Ambani interacted with the Artists of Nathdwara and pledged to support and revive this 400-year-old magnificent art form. For her, Pichvai is a medium to get lost in the devotion of Lord Shrinathji. Pichvai paintings now adorn the walls of RIL and Reliance Foundation headquarters.

Artists’ visit to Dungarpur

August 30, 2016

The artists visited Dungarpur, a Rajput princely state in the southernmost part of Rajasthan. They visited the famous Juna Mahal, a historic monument of Dungarpur, and studied and admired its wall paintings, which have been created by their ancestors.

Honour ceremony

Felicitation Ceremony

 February 3, 2016

The artists of Nathdwara honored Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose in an event for her constant support and efforts. Dr. Ghose gifted the artists a copy of the Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings exhibition catalogue and told them how the exhibition went. Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose has played a pivotal role in the formation of the Artists of Nathdwara association as well as the launch of the website. She has been a constant support in reviving the Pichvai artform.

Dr. Prabhakant and Dr. Anita Sinha’s visit to Nathdwara 

January 11, 2016

Art Institute of Chicago trustee and patrons of the Gates of the Lord exhibition, Dr. Prabhakant and Dr. Anita Sinha visited the Shrinathji temple of Nathdwara and later met with the artists. They appreciated the alluring Pichvai paintings and the intricate work of the artists.

Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA
September 13, 2015–January 3, 2016

Bringing together over 100 artworks from private and public collections in India and the United States, Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings was the first major U.S. exhibition to explore the unique visual culture of the Pushtimarg, a Hindu denomination from Western India. Scholars and artists have long been fascinated by the distinctive and highly aestheticized manner in which members of the Pushtimarg venerate Shrinathji, as well as by the legacy of miniature paintings created as a record of such worship. This exhibition showcased centuries of pichvais (textile hangings) and miniature paintings that have been created by and for the Pushtimarg and explained how they were used in seasonal and daily veneration of Shrinathji, the chief deity venerated by the Pushtimarg at the temple in the town of Nathdwara, near Udaipur, in Rajasthan, India.
Curated by Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose, the Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan and Islamic Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, this exhibition comprised drawings, pichvais, paintings, and historic photographs borrowed chiefly from two major private collections in India, the renowned TAPI Collection of Praful and Shilpa Shah (Surat, India) and the Amit Ambalal Collection (Ahmedabad, India). These rare loans were augmented by important objects from a number of public and private collections within the United States, including the Art Institute’s own permanent collection, in order to present the richest possible story of Pushtimarg art and tradition.

Lead Sponsorship for Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings was provided by Nita and Mukesh Ambani and the Reliance Foundation. Major funding has been generously contributed by Anita and Prabhakant Sinha. Annual support for Art Institute exhibitions is provided by the Exhibitions Trust: Kenneth Griffin, Robert M. and Diane v. S. Levy, Thomas and Margot Pritzker, the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation, and the Woman’s Board.

Artists of Nathdwara website launch

 January 24, 2015

Artists of Nathdwara website was launched in the presence of Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose, Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, and Himalayan Art, Art Institute of Chicago. 

This was the first big step in reviving the 400-year old Pichvai art. The website would serve as a platform for providing recognition to the original Nathdwara artists.

The first meeting of the Artists of Nathdwara

December 30, 2014 

Multiple generations of the artists of Nathdwara gathered in December 2014 for this photograph for the Gates of the Lord exhibition catalogue. This was the occasion when it was decided to create an organisation for the artists, run by the artists themselves.