KitabKhana and Junoon cordially invite you for the session - Who Decides What The Contemporary Is? : In Memoriam Jangarh Singh Shyam

5:30 pm

Dear Readers,

Date:15th July
Time: 5:30 pm
Venue: Kitab Khana
About the Session:
For many of us, the ‘arts’ are a special and experimental space that belongs to the artist who is seen as a genius. The ‘crafts’ on the other hand, are treated as the repetitive, simple and easily replicated work of rural folk. So many ‘crafts classes’ offer children a supposed expertise in ‘Warli painting’ or ‘Mithila painting’.
So, is the work of the subaltern artist really simple, repetitive and unchanging? Is it even, really, traditional? Or is it just our prejudices about these artists that prevent us from seeing their struggles, their experiments, their individual will and their agency?
We are delighted to invite Nancy Adajania – cultural theorist and curator – to Mumbai Local. She has been fascinated, all her life, by the figure of the ‘subaltern artist’. Who is this, you may ask. Usually, this is the craftsperson, the archetypal maker of objects whose work is honoured as heritage but who is personally condemned to the margins of society and art history. More often than not, these artists are described as members of a ‘folk’ or ‘tribal’ tradition. Nancy has researched and written for many years on the troubled distinction that is drawn between the ‘arts’ and the ‘crafts’. And in this session, she will be sharing her perspectives on the same, with us.
Nancy will contextualize the crafts in a history that includes seminal figures like John Ruskin, William Morris, Ananda Coomaraswamy, B R Ambedkar, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya and Pupul Jayakar. At the heart of Nancy’s work is a concern with social justice – she will talk about the vital importance of introducing the discourse of rights into an art history that is otherwise trapped in stylistic and formal categories, and their prejudices.
We will also get to hear fascinating anecdotes of efforts and experiments that have been undertaken in India since Independence. And we’ll explore the world of the arts from perspectives that we may never have considered before. Join us!
About Nancy Adajania :
Nancy Adajania is a cultural theorist and curator based in Bombay. Her book, The Thirteenth Place: Positionality as Critique in the Art of Navjot Altaf (2016), goes beyond the mandate of a conventional artist monograph to map the larger histories of the Leftist and feminist movements in India.
Nancy was Joint Artistic Director of the 9th Gwangju Biennale (2012) and has curated a number of exhibitions including a cycle of video art for ‘Sights and Sounds: Global Film and Video’, Jewish Museum, New York (2015). In 2013 and 2014, she taught the curatorial practice course at the Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts. In 2014, she curated the hybrid exhibition- publication project ‘Sacred/Scared’ (Latitude 28/ TAKE on Art magazine, Delhi), interweaving the expressive with the discursive by linking the exhibition to a transdisciplinary anthology.
Nancy has proposed several new theoretical models through her extensive writings on media art, public art, the biennial culture, transcultural art practices, and the relationship of art to the public sphere. Since the late 1990s, she has written consistently on the practices of four generations of Indian women artists. She was research scholar-in- residence at BAK/ basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010 and 2013.


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