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Move Over, MOMA...Here Comes MOCA

October 2009
Move Over, MOMA...Here Comes MOCA

An exhibition of modern Indian art at MOMA won’t raise eyebrows. The Museum of Modern Art is, after all, in New York, a major center for international art. But what if that exhibition is held at MOCA? It’s bound to generate a buzz—as it indeed did—because the Museum of Contemporary Art is in Shanghai.

Dubbed India Xianzai, this art bonanza at MOCA was the first of its kind in China. It became emblematic of the deepening ties between two fast-rising powers that are also, in some ways, rivals. About 60 works by 21 well-known Indian artists were shown from mid-July to the end of August. On display were paintings, photographs, contemporary sculptures and audio-visual installations. Featured artists included Mithu Sen, T.V. Santhosh, Riyas Komu, Chitra Ganesh, Anju Dodiya, Reena Kallat and Subodh Gupta.

Also in August, China participated in the 2nd India Art Summit in Delhi.

Going beyond cultural ties, India and China have decided to resolve their border dispute, although tensions remain, and strengthen their trade ties. The goal is to have $60 billion worth of bilateral trade by next year (it now stands at $40 billion). Tourism, too, has picked up in both directions.

While Chinese food—or, to be precise, Indian Chinese food—has long been popular in India, now Indian cuisine is making small inroads in China. There are, reportedly, over 100 Indian restaurants in China. That may not be an impressive number, but it’s still a vast improvement over the last decade. As Shashi Tharoor, the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, pointed out in August, the Indo-China “relationship should not be seen only in the context of the problems; it should also be seen in the context of the opportunity.”

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