News & Events

Past Events

Spring 2010

“Painted Songs and Stories:
Contemporary Pardhan Gond Art
from India”

Davis Museum and Cultural Center Wellesley College

Exhibit: April 7 – June 6, 2010

Opening Reception: Wednesday, April 7, 5-7 p.m. with guest curator/collector John H. Bowles and Gond artist Venkat Raman Singh Shyam

Academic Symposium: Saturday, April 10, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Collins Cinema

Family Day @ The Davis: Sunday, April 18, 1-3 p.m.


"Painted Songs and Stories" features the works of eight contemporary artists belonging to a tribal clan of Central India, the Pardhan Gonds, who traditionally serve as professional bardic priests. Starting in the early 1980s, certain talented Pardhan Gonds began transforming their ritual performing arts into a new tradition of figurative and narrative visual art: using a variety of modern media (including acrylic paintings on canvas, ink drawings on paper, silkscreen prints, and animated film) they have created unprecedented depictions of their natural and mythological worlds, traditional songs and oral histories. Rich in detail, color, mystery and humor, these artworks brilliantly employ modern means to evoke the pre-modern psyche. The exhibition, organized by the Wellesley College South Asia Studies Program, features selected works from the private collection of guest curator John H. Bowles.

The Wellesley College South Asia Studies Program will host a symposium to explore aesthetic, religious, and political questions raised by this kind of art: “The Gond and Beyond: The Predicament of Contemporary ‘Ethnic’ Arts,” Collins Cinema, Saturday, April 10, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A light lunch will be served, and the Davis Museum will be open. 

Children of all ages and their adult friends are invited to enjoy an interactive afternoon of gallery activities led by Wellesley students at Family Day @ The Davis on Sunday, April 18, 1-3 p.m.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 116-page catalogue, Painted Songs & Stories: The Hybrid Flowerings of Contemporary Pardhan Gond Art by John H. Bowles, featuring 89 illustrations (62 color, 27 b/w) and a foreward by Pankaj Mishra. Published by the Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (Bhopal Chapter, 2009), copies are available for purchase by cash or check from the South Asia Studies Program or the Davis Museum during the exhibition for $30.

Contact for more information: Lisa Easley, 781/283-2591,

Fall 2009

Human Love, Divine Beloved -- Performing Love Poems to God

September 29 , 7:00 p.m., Houghton Chapel

Bharatnatyam dancer and choreographer Jothi Raghavan will present her original work, "Godha -- A Love Story" to mystic saint-poetess Andal's passionate verses expressing her love to God Narayana. The dance presentation will be preceeded by a reading of mystical poetry from around the world that uses romantic love as a metaphor for devotion: John of the Cross -- Christian, Spanish, Jalaluddin Rumi -- Islamic Sufi, Persian. The performance is free and open to the public.


Fall 2008

Ramachandra Guha: "What It Means to be a Liberal in India Today"

October 22, 5:30 p.m., Pendleton West 212

Ramachandra Guha is a noted historian, environmentalist, public intellectual, and the author of many books, including India After Ghandi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra: "The World of Arun Kolatkar"

October 28, 4:30 p.m., Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities

Please join us for a poetry reading and discussion of modern Indian poetry in English. Mr. Mehrotra is a poet, translator, critic, editor, and professor of English at Allahabad University.


Spring 2008

"Evolving Traditions: A Celebration of Indian Music and Dance "

April 5, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Alumnae Ballroom.

With special guest artists:

Prasant Radhakrishnan, Carnatic Saxophonist (

Rohan Krishnamurthy, Percussion (

Malini Srinivasan, Bharatnatyam Dancer (

Explore the artistic traditions of Southern India in this special one-day presentation of discussion, dance, and music. The featured first-generation Indian-American artists bring to Wellesley a unique sensibility and approach to the Indian performing arts. While they are both steeped in the traditional techniques of Carnatic music and Bharatnatyam respectively, as contemporary artists, they are also constantly evolving within those traditions, pushing the boundaries of their artforms even as they uphold their 3,000 year-old intricacies and tenets. Their live performances will be preceded by a morning panel discussion that will offer audiences an opportunity to engage in the cultural and artistic perspectives of the artists, gaining insight into the dilemmas at the core of their work, namely the creative tension between preservation and change. 

Fall 2007

"Pakistan Voices of Civil Society"

Monday, December 3, 4:30 p.m., Collins Cinema.

This panel discussion on the future of Pakistan features two guest speakers: Prof. Adil Najam is the Fredrick S. Pardee Chair for Global Public Policy at Boston University and the Director of the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Term Future. He also serves as a professor in the Depts. of International Relations and Geography and Environment. Prof. Saadia Toor teaches Sociology att he City University of New York, Staten Island, and studies nationalism, gender, and the state formation in Pakistan, as well as the political economy of culture.

Lecture: "Cinema India: From the Beginnings of Bollywood"

Thursday, November 8, 5:30 p.m., Founders Hall 207.

Professor Rachel Dwyer of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London discusses the world of Indian film.

Filmaker & Writer Vijay Singh: "My Journey from the Word to the Image"

Wednesday, November 14, 2:50-5:20 p.m., Pendleton 430. Seminar: "Diasporic Nations."

Thursday, November 15, 4:15 p.m., Collins Cinema.

Lecture: "India by Song" (60 years of Indian independence as heard through Bollywood songs)

Saturday, November 17, 3 p.m., Collins Cinema.

Film screening: Jaya Ganga

Shruti Laya

November 5 and 7, 7:00 p.m., Jewett Auditorium.

The Wellesley Association for South Asian Cultures (WASAC) presents its annual cultural show, Shruti Laya 2004. Now in its ninth year, the show demonstrates the talent and skill of students of South Asian descent and anyone with an interest in South Asian culture. The show offers poetry, dance, drama and music from all regions of South Asia.

Spring 2007

Film Screening: Q2P: Toilets and the City

Thursday, May 3, 4:15 p.m., Collins Cinema.

Join us for a discussion with Director Parmoita Vohra, a Bombay-based film-maker and writer, of her film, and a screening of his film, Q2P: Toilets and the City, winner of the Jury Prize at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, 2007.

Elizabeth Turner Jordan Lecturer in the Humanities: Kiran Desai

Tuesday, April 17, 5:30 p.m., Collins Cinema.

Author Kiran Desai will read from her novel, The Inheritance of Loss, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2006 and the National Book Critics Circle Award 2007.

Fall 2006

"What Does South Asia Studies Offer a Liberal Arts Education?"

Wednesday, September 20, 4:30-6:00 p.m., Collins Cinema.

Come celebrate our new South Asia Studies Program with Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, Harvard University; Ayesha Jalal, Director of Center for South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies, Professor of History, Tufts University; and Pankaj Mishra, Garis Fellow in Writing, Wellesley College.