The Asian sub-continent seems en vogue in London town at the moment. There are two great exhibitions on at the moment:
The first is Where Three Dreams Cross, an already much-reviewed photographic exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery which shows India, Pakistan and Bangladesh through the lens of photographers over the past 150 years. The 300 works, by 70 artists and photographers, cover images from the infancy of photography in the 1860s to the present day. The images vary in their scale from key political moments to small snapshots of social realism. Some of the photographs really are striking. Click for Guardian and The Samosa reviews.
The exhibition runs from 21 January to 11 April 2010, at the Whitechapel Gallery in East London.
Tickets £8.50/£6.50 concessions. Free for under 18s & Sundays 11am–1pm.
The second exhibition is being billed as the first ever exhibition devoted to Indian Portraits. In the National Portrait Gallery's own words:
"This outstanding exhibition, the first of its kind in the UK, tells the story of the Indian portrait over three centuries, exploring the fascinating ways in which Indian artists have approached the depiction of the human form and the changing role of portraiture in Indian history. Bringing together 60 stunning works from international collections, the exhibition will celebrate the beauty, power and humanity of these works of art.
The exhibition begins with works from the Mughal Court, including some of the earliest realistic portraits made for the Emperors Humayun (r.1530–56) and Akbar (r.1556–1605) and the magnificent court portraits made for their successors Jahangir (r.1605–27) and Shah Jahan (r.1628–58), as well as studies of Mughal courtiers, holy men and servants. The distinctive regional styles from Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills are also shown alongside the European–influenced works produced by Indian artists under British rule."
The exhibition runs from 11 March – 20 June 2010, at the National Portrait Gallery in central London. Admission free.