At the end of last year came Gayatri Sinha’s large-format Voices of Change: 20 Indian Artists (Marg). At the Art Summit earlier this year, the more accessible Dialogues Series (Popular Prakashan) was launched. Now we have two hefty volumes of Yashodhara Dalmia’s interviews with 30 artists ranging from past masters such as FN Souza and Paritosh Sen to contemporaries such as Anju Dodiya and Riyas Komu. Like Sinha, Dalmia has tried to map generational shifts. But whereas Sinha sorted Indian modernism into five generations, Dalmia marks out four.
The wordy self-portraits by Dalmia’s interviewees are often quirky. The bio sketches by the interviewer, though, are just sketches. And the images rarely correspond with the words. Yet the volumes add mass to the as-yet-uncongealed history of Indian modern art. And that’s surely welcome.