After Mughal Miniatures (2021)

“Borrowing from  16th and 17th century Mughal Miniatures and paintings, Three Bengali Women is an ongoing series of photographs. The images, retrace my cultural history through performative acts of storytelling,  traditional attire, festivals and rituals found both in Bengali and Mughal cultures. This series is also an attempt to speak to the syncratic nature of cultural identity and religion.” 

        As I began to research  16th and 17th century Mughal style paintings, I came across Mughal miniatures, a style of illustration and painting that blends Persian, Indian and Islamic influences into a syncretic narrative.

The Mughal empire in India showed a vast acceptance of many religious affiliations under one nation. While history has changed the religious and political affiliations of this geographic region, moving towards a secular identity with post-colonial division, this series pays homage to the past, where a multitude of religious identities were observed as part of one cultural diaspora.

In addition, I  have specifically sought out Miniature paintings with women as main subjects. This allows me to trace the traditions of my matrilineal ancestry and further explore the bond between women portrayed in these  paintings, acting out various religious traditions and cultural rituals.

The series references paintings from the 16th century Mughal Era such as Woman in Dhaka Clad in fine Bengali Muslin (1789) by Francesco Renaldi, as well as both Islamic and Hindu influenced miniatures from the Indian subcontinent.