Changing Definition of Folk and Minor Art

Changing Definition of Folk and Minor Art

the course will cover the topic of folk and
minor art in india to begin the topic like this we must clarify certain aspects of it’s
ah understanding how we understand and recognize it how we define it how folk art is generally
understood and how it should be understood and this is the thing which will work as the
focal interest for the whole course studying indian folk art in the contributory becomes
much more relevant as it undergoes change the conventional understanding of folk art
is relative to the ritualistic costumes the customary ethics and some other utilative
in purposes are connected to it the common understanding of it’s function is to authentic
a cultural identity of a particular place a particular nation a society and more over
the ethnic society that holds a collective community value and the ascetics that is reflective
of the comprehensive expression of the worlds tradition and culture nevertheless the contemporary
scenario clearly indicates the practice today is not confined to people who are unexposed
or cannot ah well ignore it of what is going on around them socially and culturally
so they have certain exposure to the cultural scenario of the present world the folk artists
are connected to the museums the government polices the non government agencies the foreign
ah collectives the foreign patrons the cultural historians and also the tourist the travelers
the artist from different region are also known to each other as they ah attain the
similar kind of activities together they participate in different kind of national and international
exhibitions art camps art fairs and also they compete with each other for the ah [bef/different]
different kind of cultural activities so even if when we talk about this particular practice
it’s undergoing a lot of different cultural issues ah that is finally working as a operational
factor and that is also changing the mode of definition ah from time to time
if we look at it as the post colonial policy of our country where it stood some some relevance
he say that initially ah the traditional art forms with an ethnic religion base in the
context of india were treated as a source of commercial revenue generation and that
was the post colonial policy it was ah designed that way but in the traditional art forms
flourish as a cultural industry rather than an artistic expression for a very long time
in the beginning of it it is rather a recent phenomenon that the interested in traditional
art forms is directed ah to watch exploration of the expressive potential of it’s aesthetic
idioms this is used as a language and the mode of communication and more over most importantly
it is used as a artistic expression and this is independent of any other cultural politics
that is related to the shipping up of ah this particular practice in the post colonial country
policies of the country the social and cultural anthropologists be
pioneered in collecting the record and documenting the cultural art forms ah in their own terms
in their own ways at the same time the modern artists after some initial hesitation connected
with the simplistic principles that was instrumental to support modern expressions and aesthetics
folk art represents the worlds ethnic culture a general understanding of folk art forms
and made for ah the people and they created by the people for the people the definition
thus undergoes recurring changes as people who practice the art form undertake dynamic
life style to suit their time now in this context we must not skip or a
few very important issues that will make it more clear to us ah why we aim at studying
this topic from a academic direction that is also connected to the political scenario
of our country over the past hundred years and we can go back further so if we just go
back to the time of swadeshi movement that to place ah in bengal in nineteen naught five
ah that was that was intellectually supported by tagores namely abanindranath rabindranath
and gaganendranth tagore e b havell ananda kumar swamy ah sister nivedita and many more
to establish a national pedagogy which is the free form the european influence now that
was perhaps need of nationalism in that particular time so e b havell for him emphasized was
on the authenticity in reference to the pre islamic india where as ananda coomarswami
had the cultural nationalist agenda ah where he approached to it’s particular domain and
that is something which ah particularly questioned the nature of gandhara art ah in traditional
form in search of a root that flowed into the initiatives of mahatma gandhi who enetered
indian politics ah in nineteen hundred and fifty
nationalism was largely olded by the ideology of late nineteen century arts and crafts movement
late by maurice of europe who went against the mackenzie productions with the romantic
notion when we look at the ah nationalism the nature of nationalism which ah ah nineteen
hundred and five or post nineteen hundred and five bengal we feel that it’s true sister
nivedita that the art and craft movement ideology of art and craft movement of europe ah was
re essenced and the faith that we can have a nature like that in the regular life style
and the regular cultural practices in our country to get back our lost identity then
we say that it’s a lost identity ah we also ah held ourselves responsible to make a few
comments on why the crisis took place at the first time ah
it’s all because when the country men where losing some kind of faith on the cultural
identities of a nation it was very important to go back and find out certain pure practices
which existed in our country much much before the foreign inventions had taking place in
many different forms in many different times latest was the longest the european from the
britishers who came from ah britain and stayed back ruled for very long time but it was the
time when they we wanted a swaraj or the self ruling self governance so in that particular
time getting back to a cultural identity and feeling confident about our cultural root
was very very relevant ah for the nationalist and that is the perhaps reason that we looked
back we started looking for ah the specimens ah which are still during the time stage but
it was a variable there and that’s how it all started but in ah when we started bragging
the context of people like mahatma gandhi ah who dreamt of ah nationalist india
we must also ah think of notion of tagore in the nationalist context where ah the notion
was much more romantic he thought of a social utopia along with ah nanda lal bose sister
nivedita that they thought of a condition which is much more in a ideal situation what
should be the ideal village what should be the ideal living ah for the indians in that
particular time just before the independence it was something which was shaking up that
is conceived by all this people with lot of romantic notion that was connected to the
ah big murals and the impact of time and how they can ah also operate the basic culture
of mass production how they can give more emphasis to the hand crafted objects that
is our own but not every where it reflected the reality and we must understand those intricate
details of this particular phenomenon so when we talk about the romantic world of
ah tagore we talked about gandhis idea of self sufficient village to ah raise anti colonial
struggle tagore as a romantic he materialized the cultural utopia an form of making of santiniketan
ah academic institute where ah the local people and the students they live together ah with
some cultural practices which give it it’s identity they have been another notion that
got introduced by nineteen hundred and forty two by another name who was b r ambedkar on
the other hand he presented the crowd reality of the indian village that was the actually
the center of violence it was not ah real move cell for the indian village concept that
took place in santiniketan it was on the contrary that he said that these are far from being
romantic sites of cultural harmony and ah that is the point that had to be addressed
in that context now when we call the art practices of this
rural areas as the tribal art folk art adivasi art they may also mislead us to a great extend
these are some terms at are creative by the british colonial administrative ah heads ah
for their own convenience and it was all point by british colonial administration while they
were mapping it’s subject population into a conveniently classified ethnographic category
that is ah that he actually got nothing to do with how it takes in todays time the term
tribal was formulated to classify revenue paying and the non revenue paying sections
of the population it covered all pre agrarian communities the forest dwellers and their
cultural practices the term folk described the popular rural art and craft that experiences
social economic changes with some affinity to higher classical culture that organically
grow within the obligatory social customs of the pre colonial nation
the term adivasi is directly connected to the indigenous population of a region that
has possibilities of some ageless primitive aesthetics devoid of any apparent instrumentalism
and also the unchanged aesthetics bring a new definition which is close to the modernist
ideology of europe again where we felt that ah we should not borrow from anywhere else
and we must ah simply stick to the ideology of the past ah the past india how it was and
how the traditional is living in the contributory notion but again ah we connected nationalism
with those two different factors because when we talked about modernism modernism came ah
through primitive art and culture in europe so we borrowed the idea to certain extent
from europe again that in very nationalized way in the context of indian folk and minor
art the operational factors were nationalism and modernism in connection to a cultural


  • Pradhumn Acholia says:

    Why so monotonous yo?

  • Apoorva Parimal says:

    Maam, thank you for posing these videos. These are extremely useful and are helping me in my pursuit of knowledge about folk arts in India.
    I had one question from this lecture.
    At 14:41, you explain the term "folk" to organically grow within obligatory social customs of pre-colonial India. I did not understand its meaning. Request you to kindly elaborate.
    Thank you so much for these resources.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *