Vijay Kumar

India Portfolio
December 2 - January 20, 1995
New York

December 1995, New York - Bose Pacia presents a portfolio of eighteen intaglios with photoetching signed and numbered by the artist Vijay Kumar in an edition of ten. The portfolio reflects Mr. Kumar's outrage at the religious and sectarian violence which took place three years ago in Ayodhya, India. To place India Portfolio in context, Mr. Kumar uses as photoetched backgrounds two articles from The New York Times which reported on the Ayodhya incident, on top of which he adds his own images in various media. The India Portfolio series has been acquired, in its entirety, by the New York Public Library, and in part, by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. It has been called "effective political art" in a 1993 review in the Print Collector's Newsletter.

On December 6, 1992 some two hundred thousand Hindus had converged on the holy city of Ayodhya in Northern India, ostensibly to lay the foundation for a temple dedicated to their revered god Ram. In 1528, the Mogul emperor Babar had built the Babri Masjid on the location thought to be Ram's legendary birthplace. This mosque had become a focus of Hindu rage against the Muslim minority. As the crowd gathered and their fervor mounted, a mob of Hindu nationalists destroyed the five hundred year old mosque with shovels, picks, axes, and bare hands. The demolition of the mosque provoked rioting throughout India. The ensuing violence and brutality shocked the nation and the world.

Born in the city of Lahore, the artist's life has been intimately affected by the religious and political violence of modern India. The poignant images in India Portfolio reflect the artist's anguish and frustration at the seemingly inexorable course of hatred and violence that has plagued the country since its 1947 birth and partition.