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Volume 62 Number 2, December 2010

Volume 62 Number 2

Contemporary Art in South India
Edited by: Ashrafi S. Bhagat

Editorial Note

Introduction
Ashrafi S. Bhagat

Perspectives
Pioneering Vistas: Conflation of Modern and Regional Cultures at Madras
Ashrafi S. Bhagat

The Intuitive Fusion of the Native and the Modern: Changing Trends of Andhra Art in the 20th Century
Avani Rao Gandra

Frameworks of Artistic Modernity in Kerala: Cross-cultural Vibes
Kavitha Balakrishnan

New Voices New Directions
Ashrafi S. Bhagat

Photo Essay
The Pop Palette of the Urban Caravans: Contemporary Truck Art in Kerala

George K.

In Conversation
A. Balasubramaniam and Parvathi Nayar

Focus
The Icon Maker: P.V. Janakiram (1930–95)
Renu Nayar

Discovery
The Gestural Abstractions of L. Munuswamy

Ashrafi S. Bhagat

Ancillaries
Reconfiguring the Miraculous: Deities and Devotees in South Indian Devotional Film Posters
Vaishnavi Ramanathan

Review Article
Indian Life and Landscape by Western Artists by Pauline Rohatgi and Graham Parlett - Natasha Eaton

Book Reviews
Buddhist Art in Tibet by Michael Henss - Phuntsog Dorjay

Art of the Court of Bijapur by Deborah Hutton - Susan Sharma

Revisiting Marg: From Marg Vol. 19, No. 2, (March 1966): Yakshagana Sketches; Invitation to the Dance

Editorial Note
Ahmed, Monisha
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 10-11

Associate Editor Monisha Ahmed writes about the use of gold in the Kathmandu Valley, Mirra Alfassa, Walter Spink's accomplishments, a set of Bhagavata Purana manuscripts from Assam and the Nizamuddin Basti Project, all covered in this non-thematic issue.

Introduction
Bhagat, Ashrafi S.
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 12-17

The development of modern art in South India in the 1960s began with the Madras School of Arts and Crafts and the Madras Art Movement. The four southern states developed their modernity in art through different tracts with varied concepts and approaches and these are briefly discussed.

Pioneering Vistas: Conflation of Modern and Regional Cultures at Madras
Bhagat, Ashrafi S.
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 18-29

An attempt to frame the emergence of the regional modern in Southern India, particularly Madras, from the locus of the colonial-established Madras School of Arts and Crafts and the seminal role of its two heads: D.P. Roy Chowdhury and K.C.S. Paniker who helped tradition to strengthen modernity. Also provided is an overview of the Cholamandal Artists’ Village and its trajectory.

The Intuitive Fusion of the Native and the Modern: Changing Trends of Andhra Art in the 20th Century
Gandra, Avani Rao
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 30-43

Located in the history of contemporary Indian art, the pioneering vision of artists in Andhra Pradesh has contributed substantially to enrich Indian modernity, particularly post-Independence. This essay addresses Andhra artists’ concerns, the aesthetic choice of their elements, integrating with their real life experiences in art. It looks at influences that provoked anti-westernism or a revival of Indianness as propagated by the Bengal school or the revolutionary thoughts of their Baroda artist teachers. The regional experiences are integrated into these movements, in order to bring about a unique authentic artistic process. The influence of local arts, crafts, and traditional, aesthetics largely coloured their creative output. It studies the integration of artists’ native social experiences and their economic conditions as content of their art. The essay also addresses the role of art pedagogy, and discusses artists of importance as P.T. Reddy, D.L.N. Reddy, K. Laxma Goud, T. Vaikuntam, Surya Prakash, Ravinder Reddy, C. Jagdish, Rajeshwara Rao. These artists made an honest struggle to represent local experiences and aesthetic culture without losing perspective of changing global trends, bringing a unique character to Andhra modern art.

Frameworks of Artistic Modernity in Kerala: Cross-cultural Vibes
Balakrishnan, Kavitha
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 44-55

This essay touches upon the regional contingencies that come into play in the way modern art is practised by artists from and in this state. The influence of the Madras School of Arts and Crafts in the 1950s is discussed as also the individualistic endeavours of the migrant Malyali artists of the 1970s. A restlessness was evident among artists in Kerala in the ’80s which led to the emergence of a radical group wanting to assert a modernity on their own terms. Kanayi Kunhiraman pushed the boundaries with his monumental female forms evoking shocked responses. Also discussed are murals and magazine illustrations, a major site for artists in Kerala, and the formation of the Radical Painters and Sculptors Association in the 1980s.

New Voices New Directions
Bhagat, Ashrafi S.
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 56-65

This essay foregrounds the emergence of a crop of young talent with shared art education from the Madras College of Arts and Crafts. These new young voices within the Post-Madras Art movement milieu, have configured their artistic practice through interfaces with technology, philosophy, photography, and other arts. They have explored boundaries between the personal and cosmic, the physical and transcendental, the man-made and natural, between tradition and modernity. The canvas of nature offered unlimited possibilities of investigating materials and concepts. Advances and significant changes within the visual arts conditioned by changes in materials, mediums, and techniques is reflected in their practice.

The Pop Palette of the Urban Caravans: Contemporary Truck Art in Kerala
George K.
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 66-73

The relationship between truck and owner is intense and endearing. The many themes and trends and glossy colours of truck art in Kerala are featured here.

In Conversation
Balasubramaniam, A. and Nayar, Parvathi
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 74-81

A. Balasubramaniam in conversation with Parvathi Nayar explores the very contours of his own style, of art itself and of the idea called reality that we take for granted. A chance detour into the art world has brought Balasubramaniam into contact with ideas such as ephemerality in art. Through such discourses, there is also an exploration into the philosophical implications that the ideas of art embody with regard to his works, as opposed to, say, works by western artists such as those of Rachel Whiteread. Take for example, the simple instance of space: while the former sees it as filled space, the latter sees it as empty space thereby grounding their conceptions of everyday life within certain cultural contexts. As revealing as the last line of the conversation is, it is more revealing of what Balasubramaniam aims at with his art work – the questioning of reality itself.

The Icon Maker: P.V. Janakiram (1930-95)
Nayar, Renu
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 82-85

This article discusses the work, techniques, and the motivation of one of the major figures at the Cholamandalam Artists Colony during the last quarter of the 20th century. The Colony, though often overlooked, remains the ongoing legacy of the Madras Movement. Janakiram’s themes were derived from Christianity, nature, and Hinduism. His iconic work “Christ” (1969) is featured here.

The Gestural Abstractions of L. Munuswamy
Bhagat, Ashrafi S.
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 86-93

Considered one of the pillars of the Madras Art Movement, L. Munuswamy was a dynamic and forward-looking artist. He negated the nativist discourse initiated by K.C.S. Paniker and looked towards the European Post-impressionists and the abstractionists to develop his visual language in the late 1950s. Through interface with human forms he developed a style of gestural abstraction that had few equals within the art institution in Madras. He developed his artistic vocabulary at a time when Paniker was still negotiating with regional art forms to move in a new direction.

Reconfiguring the Miraculous: Deities and Devotees in South Indian Devotional Film Posters
Ramanathan, Vaishnavi
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 94-101

The article looks at the film publicity industry in South India with specific reference to Tamil Nadu. The article touches upon the way the material conditions behind the production and the environment which the poster/banner is supposed to occupy plays an important role in determining its “look”. This is evident in the Bombay and the Madras style of banner painting and in the different kinds of posters being produced for A, B, and C zones (urban, semi-rural, and rural). This division of the environment into urban and rural zones could be compared with the way deities are generally perceived as rural or otherwise. The article then focuses on posters for Amman and Naga Devata films, a genre of films dedicated to the goddess and catering to a lower/middle class female audience. The excessive use of special effects within the film and the emphasis on this in the poster is analysed to propose a theory on the possible ways that the audience might react to these posters.

Indian Life and Landscape by Western Artists by Pauline Rohatgi and Graham Parlett; Book Reviews
Eaton, Natasha
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 102–113

This article examines the recent exhibition and catalogue Indian Life and Landscape by Western Artists, both of which showcased many little known and fascinating artworks for the first time. This essay seeks to examine critically the rise of tourism in India, the validity of the Picturesque aesthetic (and its limits), and to analyse the xenophobic artistic politics of empire in India. The argument considers how these painted views were formative in the creation of a normative beauty of many of those tourist sites/sights we still value today. It also considers how far this normative beauty could be resisted and challenged and in so doing it locates this important new scholarship within the critical context of British colonial, Indian nationalist, and postcolonial concerns.

Revisiting Marg
Vol. 62 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 172–174

Introduction by Mulk Raj Anand on Bhagavata Mela, Yakshagana, Kuchipudi and Krishnattam with sketches by Shiavax Chavda, from Marg Vol. 19, No. 2, March 1966.