Digital illustrations inspired from Indian & Persian miniatures challenge the very male world order

In an intriguing tech–art collaboration, the Digital Arts Festival, curated by Media Art South Asia some months back, Kolkata’s Reya Ahmed, a student at the University of the Arts, London exhibited digital illustrations of Indian miniatures marking the significance of women in Bold colours, detailed portraiture. 
 
It is indeed fascinating to use technology, like our ultra-high-definition robotic camera, to help people everywhere appreciate flourishes that one wouldn’t be able to see well with the naked eye. That’s how the idea for the digital Life in Miniature exhibition came into being.
 
Digital illustrations by Reya Ahmed under the name “Women’s Worlds” presented enchanting colours, detailed portraiture, gardens, flowers, a hint of a certain kind of setting — mosques, palaces, white marble — and of course, human forms frozen mid-life. The whole vocabulary of Mughal and Persian miniatures is so overwhelmingly familiar in these parts even to the non-art connoisseur, it takes about a second to relate with life of that era. 
 
The artist has actually used the familiarity of miniatures to challenge the very male world order the miniatures codified and celebrated.
One of her illustrations entitled ‘Moon Song’ depicts two women — one sitting with a flower in one hand, the other hand resting on the back of the second woman, whose head is on her lap. Another work  ‘The Truth Untold’ could have been the balcony scene inspired from the most famous sequel of Shakespeare. 
 
A welter of representations include women acrobats, musicians, and one miniature from Jahangir’s time shows a woman artist “sitting with a sketch board on her knees, busy painting with her brush”. 
 
One of Reya’s illustrations is titled Mahila Masjid “Scandal in a mosque” or “Incident in a mosque” is one of Zadeh’s signed paintings found in a folio of Persian poet Hafez’s Divan. 
 
As we are ever so dependent on technologies, like Augmented Reality (AR) and Machine Learning, it’s welcoming to present these special works of art in immersive and interactive new ways. The goal eventually was to create an activity around miniature paintings that everyone could cherish. 

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