A graduate in Economics (1976, Kerala University), B.Mus (1984,Bharatanatyam, M.S University of Baroda), M.A. (Fine) and Ph.D. in Art History (1980 and 1989, M.S.University of Baroda) Prof. Panikkar’s research and teaching had been in the areas of pre-modern and modern periods of Indian art. He was Professor and Head of the Department of Art History and Aesthetics, Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda, for seven years from 2001, apart from being Dean at the Faculty of Fine Arts in 2007. He had initiated and implemented a revised syllabi, and course structure for BVA and MVA Art History courses from 2004 and from 2005 he was the Coordinator, UGC-ASIHSS Programme, in the same Department.
He did his Ph.D. thesis under the guidance of Prof Ratan Parimoo and was on Sapta Matrka Workshop and Sculptures, and it was published as a book Saptamatrka Worship and Sculpture: An Iconological Interpretation of Conflicts and Resolution in the ‘Storied’ Brahmanical Icons, (D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd., New Delhi, 1997). He edited the book Twentieth Century Indian Sculpture: Last Two Decades, (Marg Publications, Mumbai, 2000), and has co-edited the books Art of Ancient India: Contextualizing Social Relations (M.S.U, Baroda, 2004), Art of Medieval India: Contextualizing Social Relations ((M.S.U, Baroda, 2005), Towards A New Art History: Studies in Indian Art (D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd., New Delhi, 2003), Art of Ajanta – Its Significance in the Asian Art, (Books & Books, New Delhi, 1989), and Ellora Caves Sculptures and Architecture, (Books & Books, New Delhi, 1989). He is the assistant editor, Vaisnavism in Indian Arts and Culture, (Books & Books, New Delhi, 1985) and assistant author Sculptures of Sesasayi Visnu, (M.S.Uninversity of Baroda, 1983).
His research articles include “Modern Indian Sculpture”, in Art and Visual Culture in India 1857-2007, edited by Gayatri Sinha, Marg Publications & Bodhi Art, 2009, “From Trivandrum to Baroda and Back: A Re-Reading of the “Radical” Subject Position”, in Nandan, Vol. XXVI, 2006, “Art in Madras (1950s to 70s): A case of “Regional Modern” and an Interrogation into the Polemics of Internationalism and Nativism”, booklet of 7th Madan Lal Nagar memorial lecture, Rashtriya Kala Kendra, Lucknow, 2003, “The “Avant Garde” and Alternative Sculptural Practices”, in Twentieth Century Indian Sculpture: Last Two Decades, Marg Publications, Mumbai. Vol. 52, No. 1, September 2000, “Towards Global Art Trends”, in The Art News Magazine of India, Vol. 3, Issue 2, April–June 1998.“Modern Indian Art: Art Movements and Social Space”, in 50 Years of Indian Art: Institutions, Issues, Concepts, and Conversations, conference proceedings, Mohile Parikh Centre for the Visual Arts, NCPA, Bombay, 1998. “Art, Subjectivity and Ideology : Colonial and Post-Colonial India”, Paper co-authored with Preetha Nair and Anshuman Das Gupta, in Nandan, Journal of Dept. of Art History, Kala Bhavana, Visva-Bharati, Vol. xvii, 1997, “The Transitional Modern: Figuring the Post-modern in India?”, in Lalit Kala Contemporary, No. 41, 1995, New Delhi, CoAuthor, Anshuman Das Gupta, and “The Painted Figural Compositions at Ajanta: Typological Variations or Morphological Development”, Art of Ajanta – Its Significance in the Asian Art’ (Ed.), Ratan Parimoo, Books & Books, New Delhi, 1991.
Currently Prof Panikkar is also one of the Project Directors of the five travelling workshops leading to a colloquium and postgraduate curriculum development on the theme Curating Indian Visual Culture: Theory and Practice which is an initiative of India Foundation for the Arts (IFA), Bangalore, and funded by Jamsetji Tata Trust. (See http://www.curationtheory.com/)