‘Smriti’ means 'memory' or that which is remembered. The most remarkable aspect of Indian Art is that it embodies the memory of a nation with an ancient history while giving space for the individual artist's reflections and responses to contemporary events. The word 'Smriti' is also used to refer to texts that demonstrate to people, using specific stories and epics, a way of life. This resonates with the approach in this book wherein the evolution and history of a particular collection is used to evoke a picture of the larger history of art in India.
This book has been created for a large cross-section of people. It will have a purpose for the novice, student or expert. At the same time, it acts as a catalogue and reference book. It has purposefully been designed to be interactive for the reader. The information required to explain every piece of artwork is contained within the book itself and has been distributed through the four main sections.
An object grows more desirable when its life story is revealed. It is fascinating for the collector to know how and where something began and where it has travelled to and whose lives it may have touched. The key focus of the narrative of this book is to preserve the stories behind each work and to look at the collection not as a one compiled of many parts but as chapters in the story of Modern Indian Art.
Histories are constantly written and re-written and with this book we intend for the art enthusiast to look at the history of Modern Indian Art with a bit more autonomy than previously categorized by art historians. We have purposely broken down the general classification of artists, as truly each has influenced the other and one cannot draw definitive lines through this intertwined process of creation. The various histories coming in contact with each other to produce new ideas cannot be viewed through micro groupings of ideas. Therefore, this book arranges each artist in the chronology of their period of working and creating artworks rather than any geographical, educational or social backgrounds. All the information that is required to learn in depth about each artist or their groupings has been contained in the various essays that allow for a fresh perspective. We hope that the reader sees this book as a fresh start and the beginning chapter in his or her own discovery of Modern Indian Art.