Asia has had a rich heritage of cross cultural exchanges and cultural fertilizations. Asia is not a continent with confined peripheries of various nation states but a zone of cultural and religious diffusion. My objective is to review the artistic discourses and exchanges during Bengal School Art Movement in the early 20th century and later during the emergence of Santiniketan. In this framework respectively E B Havell, Abanindranath, Okakura Tenshin, Rabindranath and Nandalal Bose played seminal role which witnessed a tendency to classify all Asian artistic traditions in a single definite category and an eclectic quest for decisive Asian modernism.

In this context we were much exposed to the spectacular success of Japanese art under the modernization of post Meji restoration intoxicating with the pan- Asian mission theoretically endorsed by Okakura. Certainly we are indebted to Okakura who made an accessible gateway to understand the core meaning of Chinese and Japanese art for Indian artists. Albeit we should not overlook his latent desire to project imperialist Japan as only cultural storehouse in Asia.

Since that time, in the realm of Indian artistic discourse we find a tendency to place Bengal School movement as a major modern movement after Japan and discuss Indo-Japanese cross fertilization instead of critically define the artistic/aesthetical success of Bengal School and Santiniketan and the role of art education in India in the broad backdrop of colonial and post dynastic Asian art movements since the early part of 20th century.

Not only the Bengal School but Asia witnessed many important regional art movements in China, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia where the major notion of discourse was to go beyond the Western representational legacy and to renew the traditional aesthetic components to incorporate. In this large scenario, strikingly the success of Bengal School, and later Santiniketan and the noble role of Rabindranath became the inspirational factors to many East and South East Asian artists those who visited and studied art in Bengal. In the existing research of Asian art this important area went unnoticed.

In the era of globalization and nascent discourse of emerging Asian Art it is necessary to go beyond the Euro-American modern art discourses and to renew many micro cross cultural discourses between the Asian artists since that historical juncture .Incidentally, these cross artistic exchanges were sporadic but it is urgent to take the issues sincerely and open up the dialogue tracks once again in the context of modern art movements in Asia

My proposed project demands to unearth the areas in the following.

*, Art movements and new art education in Asia in the early 20th century. Advent of Western style realism and its fusion.


*  Sanghai School in China in 1930, Ecole Supirieure des Beaux School in Vietnam ,1930,


*Nanyang School in Singapore, Art School in Thailand under Shilpa Bhirasri.


*  Government Collage of Art, Calcutta —–pedagogic similarities and de similarities and art productions.


* Lingnan School in South China and its contact with Okakura’s Pan Asianism, their quest on Bengal School and Abanindranath and cross discourse. Their denomination of ‘art of lost nations’. Nandalal’s visit to China in 1924 and his opinion.


Poet Tagore’s visit to South East Asia in 1927 and its impact—opening of new Intra-Asian cultural discourse.


1, Tagore’s connection with cultural nationalists in Indonesia and Santiniketan University of Tagore.


2, Cultural exchange between Indonesian cultural nationalists from Boedi Oetomo and Taman Siswa of Ki Hadzar Dewanataro and Tagore and Gandhi

*  South East and East Asian artists in Calcutta and Santiniketan—Rusli{1932-1938} and Afandi{1949-1951} and later Edhi Sunarso{1955-1957} from Indonesia and their stint and creative response in India   ,


* Fua Haripitak from Thailand in Santiniketan in 1940 and his sculptures. Search of other artists and art scholars in Santiniketan from East and South East Asia from 1930 onwards.

My notion is to contextualize the entire research findings in the new discourse of modern Asian Art and art education from the post colonial perspective discarding Asian early modern art as the synonym of Westernization only.

Finally the project will conclude with a curated  exhibition in 2017 showcasing high quality digital images, texts, data, photographs through a well documented catalogue in Victoria Memorial Hall Calcutta under the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India.