SALEM — When India emerged from the shackles of colonialism in 1947, modernism was at its height in the West. Art was abstract — about paint, surface, gesture, and composition, with sparse room left for local details, pictures, or story.
Not so in India. “Midnight to the Boom: Painting in India After Independence,” the lush, bustling new exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum, portrays Indian art of the mid- to late-20th century as being as steeped in Indian traditions and vernacular as a steamy cup of chai. It showcases the museum’s collection of 20th-century Indian art, the deepest of any in the United States.