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Saints, Poets, and Posters: Indian Popular Art

Indian filmmaker, archivist, and author Yousuf Saeed comes to Oakton Community College for two talks on popular Indian art and music.

Indian filmmaker, archivist, and author Yousuf Saeed comes to Oakton Community College for two talks on popular Indian art and music.

On Monday October 1, at 12:30 p.m., Saeed will present A Sufi Saint and His Poet: The Cultural Heritage of Ameer Khusrau and Nizamuddin Aulia. Aulia, the 14th century Indian saint, and his disciple Khusrau have been revered for eight centuries, symbolizing the deep ties between Hindu and Muslim cultures in South Asia. Explore the legacy of these two men – through their New Delhi shrine, Khusrau’s poetry and music, and popular culture in India, Pakistan, and the world.

On Tuesday, October 2, at 12:30 p.m., Saeed will present Images of Two Nations: India and Pakistan in Popular Art, which commemorates the 143rd anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. While Hindu art in India during the Independence Era often incorporated political themes depicting figures like Gandhi and Nehru with gods and goddesses, Islamic art produced during the same period is less politicized. Why did Indian popular art often fail to reflect Muslims’ political aspirations? Delve into this question by comparing Indian and Pakistani religious imagery, and viewing rare posters and calendar art featuring leaders from the early 20th century.

Saeed has produced several well-known documentaries and is project director of Tasveer Ghar, an international initiative to archive South Asia’s popular culture and arts. He also is the author of Muslim Devotional Art in India (Routledge, 2012).

Co-sponsored by the Humanities and Philosophy Department and the Global Studies and Peace and Social Justice Programs, Saeed’s presentations are free and open to the public. Both will take place at the Des Plaines campus, 1600 East Golf Road, Room 1606.        

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