Traces of India depicts the social, political, and anthropological role of images, showing how they laid the historical foundations—real and imagined—on which an ordered empire may have been constructed, rather than an assemblage of colonial trading relationships. Organized around six themes, the exhibition explores some of the greatest architectural sites of the Indian subcontinent from Mughal, Jain, and Sikh monuments in the north to Hindu temples of South Asia and Buddhist monuments in central India.
The exhibition features a selection of nineteenth-century photographs of historic monuments of India from the CCA collection, along with a related selection of images from popular culture, such as postcards, posters, political ephemera, and clips of Bollywood films. More than two hundred master photographs taken by travellers, military surveyors, and professional studios within the context of the British colonial era are displayed. Traces of India includes such masterpieces as Felice Beato’s views of the Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple, and monuments in the city of Lucknow, John Murray’s three-plate panorama of the seventeenth-century Pearl Mosque in the Agra fort, and a twenty-one-plate panorama by Linnaeus Tripe recording an inscription that runs along the base of the eleventh-century Rajarajesvara temple in Thanjavur.
Curator: Maria Antonella Pelizzari, CCA.
Exhibition design: ROY, New York.
Graphic design: Louis-Charles Lasnier, Montreal.