… Past Projects and New Initiatives

Ars Medica Botanica: Medicine in the Jangala Books
A research project focused on the analysis of primary archival materials on South Asian medico-botanical arts in UK libraries and museums (longer description will be inserted shortly). Supported by the Wellcome Trust

Ars Botanica: Documenting Botanical Art in Company Gardens
The project documents India’s disparate botanical art traditions, focusing on four colonial botanical texts ranging from the seventeenth-century Hortus Indicus Malabaricus to the nineteenth-century Flora Indica. Research will involve matching and integrating botanical texts with East India Company gardens, making visible the unnamed indigenous botanical artists of Company painting, and tracing botanical iconography across diverse print media: engravings, watercolours, and lithographs. It is part of my larger project to document an Indian botanical Ark-ive, a visual genealogy of botanical arts traditions on the printed page. Outcomes will include a beautiful, object-based web archive and an innovative arts exhibition (to coincide with the Kochi Biennale, 2016). Supported by India Foundation for the Arts

Hyderabad’s Hidden Heritage: Arts Practices in a Bifurcating City
A seminar series, book, and proposed exhibition on Hyderabad’s bifurcation with material culture, art, artifacts, and specimens from the Salar Jung museum, the A.P. State Archives and the Oriental Manuscript Library. 

Heritage Field School 
An annual heritage field school affiliated with educational institutions, aimed at museum professionals and students of critical heritage studies, focusing on Hyderabad’s urban crafts and artisinal living traditions (bidri, ikat, kalamkari etc). In conversation with cultural institutions and universities in the U.S. and India

Musayums: Writing Museum Cultures in South Asia
A teaching, writing, and storytelling initiative focused on exhibition narratives and ethnographic essays around museum and archival objects in Hyderabad (Salar Jung museum, State archives, and Oriental Manuscripts Library). In conversation with writing groups, programs and independent bookstores in Hyderabad and DC.

Heartwood/Pachani Gunde: Trees of Hyderabad
A proposed ‘green room’ for Hyderabad – a library, physical space and digital site to gather together activists, naturalists, artists, botanists, policymakers, writers, tree lovers in the creation of exhibitions, workshops, maps, artworks – all of which builds on a 2019 civic action to successfully save 1065 mature banyans slated for destruction on the Hyderabad-Chevella highway.

Lost in Translation: Cultural Property across Cultures
An initiative to translate a graphic novel on cultural property with the help of visual artists, lawyers, curators and specialist translators. Test case will be Telugu with University of Hyderabad and NASLAR, followed by other South Indian languages.