Human culture only stretches so far forward before it starts to double back on itself. Look at the current movie releases: our theaters are screen new versions of old classics. It’s rare for a film comes to town that isn’t based on a book, TV show, or an outdated version of itself.

Just like the film industry loops back and replicates its own history in a “new” celebration of vintage material, so is the way of the fashion industry. The tie-dye of the sixties, giant earrings of the eighties, jean jackets of the nineties all reoccur in modern trends.

The art world is witnessing its own version of old ideas being recycled in new ways. A current trend takes classic Indian works of art and reboots them for the twenty-first century in the form of pop art and memes.

The narrow-minded might argue that this is disrespectful to the original work but just as is seen in the film and fashion industries, this repurposing is simply the natural progression of human culture. This modern treatment of classic Indian art actually revitalizes the old works. It ushers in conversations about culture and tradition, and it instills an appreciation for what was by way of transforming it into what is.

One way that classic Indian art is seeing a resurgence is through memes. These Internet images overlay famous images with text. In this example, the Indian Goddess Kali stands on the bodies of men she’s slaughtered. The creator of this meme paired with it the text, “Tell me my dress is ‘asking for it’ one more time.”

ma kali meme [Photo Source: Twitter]

The notion that the cut and/or length of a woman’s dress is an invitation for someone to molest or rape her is absurd, yes, but also a very important social conversation right now in both India and USA alike.

By pairing it with an image of Kali—the vengeful goddess of Creation and Destruction—this meme becomes a potent visual piece.
In fact, the internet is, of course, a treasure trove of potent visual pieces and a popular medium in sharing new age Indian art.

DeviantArt is an online community for sharing artwork. One need only to visit this page to better understand how delightfully far Indian art has reached into modern art.

While memes show a general circulation of Indian imagery within modern culture, the fact that artists are taking the time to create their own interpretations of these gods and goddess shows a true rejuvenation of classical Indian themes.

The last example of classical Indian art being brought into the twenty-first century is in this depiction of an Indian Mona Lisa. The merging of da Vinci’s iconic painting with traditional Indian themes is a powerful fusion of two cultures.
mona lisa [Photo Source: Pinterest (1,2,3)]

There are no new ideas, which means the only way to advance is to reincorporate old things in new ways. The reigniting of classical Indian art through modern media is essential to current and future artistic expression and discourse.