Untitled (Gond Art)

Book of Kings: Early Mughal portraits in Muraqqa’s

Sarmaya x Museum Rietberg

We were excited to collaborate with Museum Rietberg, Zurich for a first-of-its-kind virtual event in September 2020. For the event we looked at the parallels and legacies of two ancient forms of shadow puppetry in India and Indonesia: Tholu Bommalata and Wayang Kulit.   Paul Abraham, Founder, Sarmaya Arts Foundation with Johannes Beltz, Deputy Director,… Read more »

Metal Head: Royal Portraiture on the Ancient and Medieval Coins of India


The rulers of a bygone India put their likenesses on coins to announce in unambiguous terms their absolute dominance over the land. What else do these tiny metal portraits tell us about the subject in question? Let’s peel back the layers

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Family Portraiture: An attempt at reading a personal album


We dive into a study of family portraiture with a set of three albums belonging to John Sinclair, the First Lord Pentland, and the Governor of Madras between 1912 and 1919—and draw out the themes that emerge from this treasure trove of 20th-century photography

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Parallel Histories: Personal Photos as a Political Statement

Think Small: Carte de Visites, Cabinet Cards & Travelling Portraits


The invention of Carte de Visites and Cabinet Cards made photography affordable and accessible to the masses—and this changed the very nature of the beast. Through Sarmaya’s priceless collection, we present a history of portable portraits

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Photo Album: Views, India Tour. 1881

Wanderings of a Pilgrim; Rarebook by Fanny Parkes Parlby

King’s Circle – Ram Singh & the Art of Intimate Portraiture


We spoke to Aparna Andhare, Curator of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum about Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh’s iconic portraits of the royal zenana and the man himself

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Portraits of a Pandemic

We asked photographers and artists how they interpreted the seasons of 2020 through their work to paint a portrait of an extraordinary year

Now reading: The stories every picture tells

Early Photography

Beyond the Form: Portraits in Modern Indian Art


Discovering the portraiture of four Modern artists from the Sarmaya collection — F.N. Souza, Laxma Goud, Dhruvi Acharya and Alexander Gorlizki

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People of India


“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” As the chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair in the early 1900s, Edward Steichen knew what he was talking about. Portraiture is the result of a dynamic collaboration between photographer and model, both of whom colour the final frame with… Read more »

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Picture Perfect: 19th-Century Photography Techniques

Who is an Indian – Crafting Identity Through Photography


Early portraits in India were taken by foreigners and for a foreign audience. Let’s see how the genre of ethnographic photography has evolved in time

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India’s OG Influencers – The expressive portraits of 19th-century royalty


While digital influencers seek to turn online adulation into cash in the bank, our royals had plenty of the latter and were in the limelight to win hearts and minds. Here’s how they did it through their portraits

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