Past Modern: Looking Back, Looking Forward

[L-R] Abhay Sardesai, Zehra Jumabhoy, Tasneem Mehta, Girish Shahane and Mortimer Chatterjee
[L-R] Abhay Sardesai, Zehra Jumabhoy, Tasneem Mehta, Girish Shahane and Mortimer Chatterjee

On August 18, 2017 Asia Society India Centre organized a symposia about the Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG), a collective of artists who came together in Bombay after India gained independence in 1947, the group famously included F. N. Souza, S. H. Raza, M. F. Husain and K. H. Ara. The discussion moderated by Abhay Sardesai, editor of ART India, and also featured well known art historians and curators Zehra Jumabhoy, Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, Girish Shahane and Mortimer Chatterjee.


The symposia sought to discuss the roots and the nature of the PAG. Mr. Sardesai initiated the discussion with a brief background about the origins of the PAG, noting that the story of the PAG was also the story of Bombay as a capital of modernism. Zehra Jumabhoy, attempted to define what “progressive” meant at the time – it was a term that many groups of artists and writers were using to describe themselves and contained the idea of a multicultural and pluralist society.