Dr. Marika Sardar
Associate Curator of
Southern Asian and Islamic Arts

Marika Sardar has been Associate Curator of Southern Asian and Islamic Art at The San Diego Museum of Art since July 29, 2013. Marika received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU (2007) with a dissertation on Deccani architecture. She worked for six years in the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she was involved with the reinstallation of 15 galleries for Islamic art (2011) and the exhibition, The Interwoven Globe: Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800 (2013).

Publications include essays on the architectural, textile, and painting traditions of the Deccan; on the Metropolitan Museum’s excavations at Nishapur, Iran; and on Safavid and Ottoman textiles. She has also written the section on South Asian art for the textbook Asian Art (2014), co-edited, with Navina Haidar, the volume Arts of India’s Deccan Courts, 1323-1687 (2011). They also co-wrote Sultans of Deccan India, 1500-1700: Opulence and Fantasy, the exhibition catalog for the 2015 exhibition of the same name at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Marika wrote chapters on The Bahmanis and their Artistic Legacy, The Courtly Tradition of Kalamkaris and Burhanpur and Aurangabad.

San Diego Museum of Art, Galleries 9-11
South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Persian Art The San Diego Museum of Art

Be sure to enjoy one of the newest additions to the Asian galleries: an audio tour of 12 art objects. One begins at the sign on the wall and uses a cell phone to call, or an iPod that can be checked out at the Museum’s main entry desk. With a smart phone, iPod or a computer, one can see a high resolution picture of each item. Marika Sardar, Ph.D., Associate Curator of Southern Asian and Islamic Arts, presents each item in her alluring voice. With a smart phone, or on a computer, there is a high resolution photo of each object to see while listening so each detail can be studied. One scrolls to below the left corner of the picture where there is a place to click to hear a short explanation of the work of art. Play Audio Tour

Sultans of Deccan India, 1500-1700:
Opulence and Fantasy

Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – NYC

Marika happy at the opening
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has never been as sparkling as at Opening Night, April 13, 2015. Marika Sardar and her husband enjoy the congratulations in the grand hall.
The Sultans of Deccan India, 1500-1700: Opulence and Fantasy exhibition begins with a beautiful arch with a bird on the sill, exactly as the photographer caught it on site in India.

Curator Comments

Marika Sardar, Associate Curator of Southern Asian and Islamic ArtDr. Marika Sardar gave us a few notes about co-curating a groundbreaking exhibition on Deccani art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, working on an Open Storage Study Center for galleries 10 & 11 and planning for her next exhibition of the Binney Collection at Princeton in the fall of 2016. We look forward to her future columns.

Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 14 – July 26, 2015: Sultans of Deccan India, 1500-1700: Opulence and Fantasy

This exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was the first to concentrate on the Deccan region and the five great sultanates that ruled there in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A labor of love for me, this exhibition was nearly ten years in the making and was able to gather together outstanding works of art from collections around the world (over 60 lenders participated). Five great paintings from the Binney collection of the San Diego Museum of Art were featured in the show.

Click to see the exhibition galleries at the Met and/or click to listen to the audio tour. Click to hear Marika’s Symposium presentation for the Deccan exhibition at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 11-12, 2015. Marika spoke on Golconda architecture (day 2, session 1, 29:18).

Galleries 9 & 10 become the Open Storage Study Center
South Asian, Southeast Asian and Persian Art move
to the north part of Galleries 12 & 13

Over the next eighteen months, all of the permanent collection galleries will undergo a transformation and reorganization. Upstairs, galleries 16-19 will display European art up to the early 1900s, while gallery 20 will remain a space for temporary exhibitions. Downstairs, galleries 1-3 will be devoted to American art; 4-5 to special exhibitions; and 6 to California artists. Galleries 7 and 8 will remain East Asian (and we will have to see what the new curator for East Asian art plans for those spaces), while 9 and 10 will become a study center, where prints, paintings, photographs and small objects usually kept in our storerooms will be made available to the public. 20th century art will move into galleries 11, 12 and 13; 12 and 13 will also be shared with Indian, Southeast Asian and Iranian art. Overall the flow of the galleries and the spaces allotted to the different collections should be much improved, and we are excited for the changes.

Storytelling  in Indian Art: South Asian Paintings from the San Diego Museum of Art
New Edwin Binney 3rd Collection Traveling Exhibition

The Royal Exiles in a Sage's Hermitage, Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.1265
The Royal Exiles in a Sage’s Hermitage, Ramayana Suite, India, Guler, last quarter 18th century, Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.1265

With  sections on the Bhagavata Purana, the Ramayana, the Ragamala, and  Persian-language works, this exhibition will  introduce visitors to the great literary epics of Indian culture and the  paintings made to illustrate those stories. The exhibition will also explore  the enduring popularity of these epics, and examine the strategies artists  developed to convey narrative in a visual image. It will travel to the  Princeton University Art Museum (Fall 2016) and the Blanton Museum of Art  (Summer 2017) before a grand finale at the San Diego Museum of Art (Spring  2018).


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