José Veloso Salgado
Vasco da Gama before the Zamorim
Portugal (1898)

Pushpamala N.
The Arrival of Vasco da Gama

India (2014)

Pushpamala N. does a lot of photographic recreations in which she plays mythic figures in Indian history and culture. This is the first time she’s playing a man: the Portuguese “discoverer” of a sea route to India, Vasco da Gama.

The work’s currently on show as part of the Singapore International Festival of the Arts: The O.P.E.N., which I’m an official blogger for. It’s on show accompanied by the following facts:

- Vasco da Gama employed the Indian navigator Kanlia to cross the Arabian Sea to India by celestial navigation known to Indians, Arabs and Chinese

- Europeans then relied on maps and charts and were ignorant of navigating uncharted seas.

- The Kerala School of Mathematics and Astronomy in Cochin had created the most accurate calendar and trigonometric calculations needed for navigation in the 15th century.

- In the 16th century Jesuit scholars in Cochin translated the key texts of Cochin and sent them over to Portugal.

- The knowledge, not quite understood, was appropriated by European mathematicians and astronomers and its ‘pagan’ origins hidden.

Almendres Cromlech: The Twin Megalithic Stone Circles of Portugal

Located on the slopes of the Monte dos Almendres in Portugal, is the ancient megalithic site of Almendres Cromlech, also popularly known as the ‘hill of the stone amphorae’. The stunningly well-preserved site is the most important megalithic arrangement in Portugal and is also believed to be one of the oldest stone circles in Europe. 

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