The Second Wave and more

The Graphic Arts Collection continues to collect folk and tribal art from South Asia as it relates to the pandemic. In Mithila artist Nisha Jha’s “Second Wave”, she focuses on wearing masks, sanitizing, and vaccination as critical to stemming the spread of the virus. The border depicts the coronavirus being injected with the vaccine and “making this world corona-virus free.” In another section, she’s painted a Covid-19 vaccination center. The work also highlights how individuals in the informal sector adjusted to preserve their livelihoods in the midst of the pandemic, e.g. vegetable sellers who turned to offering masks and sanitizer.


Graphic Arts has also recently expanded the focus for this collection to include themes related to women’s experiences in India. One example is “Today’s Modern Woman” by Vinita Jha. This work reimagines the goddess Durga by replacing the traditional items in her hands with contemporary ones – (clockwise) an infant, a spray bottle for cleaning, a cup of coffee, a smart phone, a child, an iron, a shopping bag, and a griddle and spatula.


Nisha Jha (also the creator of “The Second Wave” and daughter of Vinita Jha) questions what constitutes an auspicious marriage in her painting “The Hungry Man of Dowry.” Here she has depicted the bride as the Kāmadhenu, or Cow of Plenty, who brings a BMW, a Royal Enfield motorcycle, a computer, and other luxury goods into her new marriage.


Thanks to Ellen Ambrosone, South Asian Studies Librarian, for this guest post.