Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Talks and Lectures

Power, Posture, & Privilege:  The Politics of the Seat in India

In person at the museum


Pull up a chair as expert Sarita Sundar reveals the cultural and historical significance of the seat in India.

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Are you sitting down? Reconsider the meaning of an object that we use daily with Sarita Sundar, author of the new book “From the Frugal to the Ornate: Stories of the Seat in India.” Sundar’s presentation will examine seats that resist typecasting; seats that defy time and space; and seats that inspire a range of emotions — from Gandhi’s humble seat on the floor to the ubiquitous plastic monobloc chair and the legendary Peacock Throne. Beyond the physical characteristics of a seat, Sundar’s research considers its relationships with the sitter and surrounding figures: the power and privilege a seat can grant, simply by association. From India’s history to the present day, discover what the seat is for, what worlds it belongs to, and what worlds it can open.


Sarita Sundar is the Founder of Hanno, a heritage interpretation and design consultancy. Her interests in cultural and design history have led the direction of her work, which ranges from examining  vernacular typography to research into the intangible and material culture of performance practices in the temples of Valuvanad, Kerala. Sundar has taught and evaluated courses on the history of design at various colleges in India and abroad. She builds upon her past work through a 2022-23 Fulbright Visiting Scholar Fellowship that looks critically at intersectional milestones in Indian and American design histories.


Image: Bengal Presidency, late 19th century, unidentified photographer. Courtesy Sarmaya Arts Foundation.

Organizers & Sponsors

Presented by Society for Arts and Cultural Heritage of India.

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