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Contemporary painting and Indian politics
So you are saying that the marxist/western attempt at culture itself necessarily manifests as a pale imitation, that is, as kitsch; while the cultural matrix in which our art is embedded is the real art. what is your view of the kitschy (as in garrish) reinterpretation of traditional art forms as seen on the self-confessed south asian blogs, MTV India etc. How are they different that marxist/liberal kitsch or are they the same?
<!--QuoteBegin-"dhu"+-->QUOTE("dhu")<!--QuoteEBegin-->what is your view of the kitschy (as in garrish) reinterpretation of traditional art forms as seen on the self-confessed south asian blogs, MTV India etc. How are they different that marxist/liberal kitsch or are they the same?

I think they are kitsch art as they are from the left side of the brain as the realistic aspect is killed by Marxist dogma. In otherwords any dogma kills the right side of the mind.
How do I save this thread as a single file so that I get all the posts and pics in one file? Something like an mht file.
click on <b>'options' </b>icon next to 'fast reply' and 'add reply', then<b> 'download print this topic'</b>, you will get choice for word or html file. choose directory to save.
this method only works for pages up to 9 or 10, any more pages will get truncated.
The conclusions are a little overwrought specially with regard to Indic categories, but there is good analysis of religious origin of colonialism and limitations of abrahamic/rational outlook.

Religion -- The last weapon of Discrimination and the bio-cultural corrective.
Written by Dr Antonio T de Nicolas

This paper is a corollary to Moor Nam’s excellent paper in Medha Journal “The Caste Non-System”. I will try to show the roots of divisiveness and exploitation of colonial powers over ancient and creative cultures, like India’s, by focusing on the inner technologies and external means used in such an endevour, not only as it happened in the past but more closely in the present.

Part 4:
Benoy Kumar Sarkar wrote book "Hindu Art" in 1916 which traces all the Modernist movements in early Hindu art. Its a slim volume of fifty pages and a treat to read.
Its in the Internet Archive.

dhu, I think you should read this by this weekend!
Full list of titles by this author
<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Apr 12 2008, 04:06 AM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Apr 12 2008, 04:06 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Benoy Kumar Sarkar wrote book "Hindu Art" in 1916 which traces all the Modernist movements in early Hindu art. Its a slim volume of fifty pages and a treat to read.
Its in the Internet Archive.

dhu, I think you should read this by this weekend!

My understanding has always been that modernist movement takes the 'abstractness' of non-western art as raw material for its own ends, which is basically an assault upon form. There is no iconoclastic spirit in the purported abstractness of non-western art, nor is one style ever poised as a dialectical reaction against another.. In this sense, modernist art consumes, commodifies, exotifies, fetishizes, and most importantly decontextualizes non-western art.

Of course, secularists may see all this as an example of multiculturalism, just as Mughal regime gets transformed into multiculturalism and composite culture.
A few old articles from Hindu.

The geometry of representation


The Circle of progress

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->..."I have been saying for the past 10 years that Indian contemporary artists will soon reach places because of their genuine work which may be drawing its premises from western modernism but is deeply rooted in their tradition. Unfortunately you people (read media) hear 10 years after a statement is made. See you are here 10 years after I declared the Indian artists' fate," muses this innocent-faced first-generation painter with a glint in his eyes.


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->So if someone thought that Raza would be singing praises of Paris where he went to in 1952 on a French Government scholarship, he would be in for a surprise. Nostalgically, the veteran keeps returning home. "I did go to Paris to study art further. But I kept coming to my home every year for inspiration, to revive the traditional symbolism, iconography, to draw sustenance from my roots, to recharge myself," he adds.

You like his oodles of love for the country but in your heart of heart, you may not forget that <b>he formed the Progressive Art Group with Souza, Hussain and others to allegedly oppose the traditional Bengal School of Art that was, and still remains the face of Indian art.</b> Raza defends, <b>"No, we didn't form PAG to oppose them. We were not against them. In fact, with close affinity to our own land, we wanted to incorporate modernism in our works. If that weren't true, would my Bindu series be drawing sustenance from my backyard? It is recognised the world over only because it has my roots showing so clearly. See exhibition in this gallery. Artists in it are talking about Roop Adhyatma in modern paintings. Europeans see only with their retina, we see with our third eye, our antaratma. Today our artists no longer study Picasso, Kandinsky or Rothko, colours of Cezanne or Van Gogh for we have our own backyard. Now our paintings have found a personality." </b>

That is fine, but didn't he face initial opposition, back home as a resident of Narsinghpur district of Madhya Pradesh? Well, he got lucky. <b>He was "a poor student" and hence, his father, a forest officer, didn't object to his studying painting for a career.</b> "But people around me would ask, why painting? Teacher banoge? As a boy, I loved the forest of Narsinghpur. Those greens never fade from my mind. I used to draw those greens endlessly but didn't have direction. My teachers were sanyasis who gave a direction to my works," recalls the veteran.

For all the direction that the contemporary Indian painters have, they are selling at whopping price. Aren't they overestimated?

"I believe that they are going a bit too fast. They should mind their movement. Even till date, I have never sent even one paining to the Christie's auction. I find it a waste of time. Money is an illusion," the veteran shares his pearl of wisdom.

And his wisdom foresees a bright time for Indian contemporary art. <b>"We have a passion for colours. We are full of ideas. Our paintings, however modern, have Indian values. So rich are we in novel concepts and ideas that now every country will follow us."</b>


Try to read up stuff by Georges DesVallieres on origins of Impressionism and its borrowings.

In other words what inspired the Impressionists like Matisse and Cezanne and why Impressionism appeals to Indian conteporary painters?
If you want to understand the modernist movement and its relationship to nonwestern art, you have to understand Arundhati Roy. She is the new engineered Indian, Christianized, Communized, the anti-colonial neocolonial. A thoroughly colonized mind.
Dhu, I am still froming my thoughts but AR is hardly representative of modernist movement . She is a free agent attack dog. Doesnt know what and where to bite. A total Ronin!
Free agency or opportunism is one of the characteristics of the neocolonials. think how much trouble we have pinpointing actual loyalties of the maoists - are they agents of the west or ccp. they will be first to state that they are indepedents and rationals only, freed from fetters of history (ie culture) through an act of rationalism and will (secularized christian belief in "free will" of God). Hussein is islamic version of arundhati. they will then condescend to bestow their graces and judgment upon native art forms.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->But there are many contradictions in these intellectual sepoys: (i) While many are Subalternists, India's masses, classics and culture are often alien to them, and they disrespect and caricaturize Hinduism in a reductionist Eurocentric way. (ii) Instead, they know mainly western thought and hermeneutics. (iii)<b> Yet, their careers are based on being proxies for the very tradition that they regard as a scourge.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
A book review in Pioneer, 19 April 2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Paradigms of popular culture

The book looks into, though not quite comprehensively, what we call 'lumpen culture', says Utpal K Banerjee

India's Popular Culture: Iconic Spaces and Fluid Images
Author: Jyotindra Jain (ed)
Publisher: Marg
Price: Rs 2,500 

<b>The book under review sheds important light </b>in a generally-neglected area of what can be loosely termed 'lumpen culture' from a variety of viewpoints. This light shines mainly on images surrounding us, as says the blurb, <b>"On billboards, calendars, posters and religious paraphernalia, in print-media, and television, in restaurants and shops, on the roadside, in auto-rickshaws, taxis, trucks and buses, in bazaars and around temples."</b>

When one looks for such an all-encompassing view, chinks begin to appear. <b>What has been called a "Jodhpuri weltanschauung" was sorely needed for the totality of the tome. The weltanschauung, or world-view, should have defined all the parameters of popular culture:</b> Succinctly put together and then some selected and remainder discarded -- for lack of space or authorship or both -- and analysed at leisure. <b>Instead, the volume selects random topics and, howsoever scholarly be the coverage for those topics, the inquisitive reader remains insatiate.</b>

<b>The most important omission is the role of oral-aural component of what essentially is audio-visual culture experienced in the Indian popular psyche</b>. A glaring example is the analysis offered on the inlay card of the music-CD of songs from Jai Baba Ramdev, but not a word mentioned on the CD itself, -- although one would have thought the music to be the cardinal element of India's popular culture! Again, the Indian Republic Day Parade is seen as a purely visual event and analysed as such, to the exclusion of its accompanying songs and engrossing slogans, traditional chants and modern bands, which all are inseparable from the visual pageantry, and when the whole phenomenon comprises a vibrant spectacle.

The plea that the editor and the individual authors are merely looking at only the still and fluid images -- minus all sound -- does not really hold water, as popular images in India cannot possibly be viewed in total silence!
<i>{The editors gave what they included and what they excluded. Maybe the writer should write his own book. Na?}</i>

<b>Another serious flaw is relative lack of familiarity with the content and scope of "the emergence of modern communication technologies -- digital media, TV and film", which is vital for any critique of popular culture.</b> Let us be clear that modern communication technologies can be not only One-to-Many (like radio, TV, film, slide-shows on the countryside and video-parlours, to name a few), but also One-to-One (like web-surfing, e-mail, blog, chat, etc), Many-to-One (like CD, VCD and DVD, focussing on the armchair-bound individual) and a grand mix of all three categories. Any generalisation on media will simply not do, since both causative variables as well as outcome variables of popular culture can be vastly varied -- dependent on influences by the mediating variables of the communication technologies.

This, however, does not detract from the offerings of individual authors, most of whom have contributed intelligent minutiae. <b>Yousuf Saeed's contribution on "the dilemma of orientation in the popular religious art of Indian Muslims" is particularly interesting because of its insight into a rarely observed aspect of Islamic society. His observation that many posters collected from Pakistan make an uninhibited depiction of the personages of holy saints and Lahore keeps printing artistic visualisation of Khwaja Moinudin Chishti, Baba Farid and many others -- flying in the face of specific Islamic taboo against manifestation of figurative art in religion -- makes interesting reading.</b> Although Pakistan's popular art is not the subject-matter here, the present reviewer noticed 'trucks' (mentioned in the blurb but not covered in the book) in Pakistan to be decorated with resounding images and telling messages, -- certainly a fascinating part of a parallel popular culture!

Two well-written essays are by Anuradha Kapur on curtains of the Surabhi Company of Maharashtra and by Ranjani Mazumdar <b>on the Bombay film-posters that throw interesting sidelights on two of the important facades of Indian performing arts: Theatre and cinema.</b> Chritopher Piney's illuminating article on the spread of the popular cult of Ramdev alludes, in passing, to the complex Rajasthan folk traditions of mobile images, but there is surprisingly no coverage of the rich storytelling heritage of the rural north India that involves a tapestry of mobile images -- as part of popular culture within the ambit of the present volume.


Maybe volume two and three are needed. One fine day someone will analyze IRF and BRF posts as Indian internet reawakenieng culture.
Recursionism and Reality: Representing and Understanding the World
Subhash Kak

One reason why Contemporary Indian painting is at odds with Indian culture through the ages is it is at variance with the Vishnudharmottara which is a treatise on painting and image creation that is an appendix to Vishnu Purana.

Try to get a copy of the Vishnudharmottara translated by the late Stella Karmisch and see for yourself.

Wiki article

please download the pdf at bottom of page and see what I mean.
Why Fida on Husain?

Modern art is just continuing the hateful iconoclasm of Christianty and Islam and calling it creativity.
Pioneer Letter:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->What about norms?
Sir—This is with reference to the controversy regarding MF Husain’s paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses. It must be borne in mind that the question of freedom of expression does not arise in the case of religious art. It is guided by the norms laid down in the canonical texts, which leave little or no scope for the imagination of an artist.

<b>Indian religious systems do not prohibit nudity, but they abhor vulgarity, </b>which lies in flouting the rules of the game. Gautam Buddha cannot be shown without clothes; similarly, a Digambar tirthankar cannot be depicted with clothes. Likewise, Saraswati should always wear white apparel because she is called “svatavastra”. One cannot — and should not — discount social and religious norms in the name of freedom of expression.
SN Chaturvedi
Stella Kramrisch
<b>Husain has hurt Hindu sentiments</b>
By Sandhya Jain

THE sharp disappointment in the Hindu community over the Delhi High Court’s decision to quash three cases against painter Maqbool Fida Husain provides an ideal opportunity to all communities to debate the issue of mutual religious respect and the Vedic concept of sarvadharmasamabhav.

To my mind, there are two separate and overlapping issues involved, which must not be mixed up in a manner that promotes communal disharmony, when this is entirely avoidable. The first and most obvious is inter-religious disrespect, and the second related issue is intra-religious discourtesy to fellow believers.

Mr. M.F. Husain’s behaviour falls obviously in the first category, of inter-religious indecency, and the gravity of his offence must be understood in its proper perspective without being unduly prurient. First, however, it must be pointed out to unhappy members of the Hindu community that Mr. Husain has been released in cases pertaining to a painting of ‘Bharat Mata’ alone, and that too, on technical grounds. Mr. Husain had painted a nude woman over the backdrop of the Indian subcontinent, and it was the art gallery that titled the painting as ‘Bharat Mata’. Hence Mr. Husain’s claim that it was an abstract nude was technically sound.

Some Hindus feel the Hon’ble judge was unduly kind to the nonagenarian painter, buying into his lawyers’ argument that the painter was forced to live in self-imposed exile, and “deserved to be at home and painting.” But Mr. Husain left the country of his own accord to evade the judicial system, and has since profited from the controversy to sell his paintings at startling prices. He was free to return at any time and face the charges against himself manfully, but he chose to cock a snook at Hindu sentiments and enjoy himself abroad.

The critical charge against Mr. Husain is that as a member of a non-Hindu faith (specifically, as a Muslim), he should not have dabbled with the powerful religious symbols, specially the female divinities, of another faith, with so much contempt and disrespect. As an artist, he did and does have the freedom to choose his themes from anywhere in the world. But he has chosen broadly to draw upon themes from Hindu dharma, and in the perception of the Hindu community, he has displayed uncalled for indecency in some of the portrayals.

Some paintings have been particularly offensive. The most controversial was that of a naked Sitaji clinging to the tail of Hanuman. Even in terms of mythology, this is taking liberties with the text of the Ramayana, as it is well-known that Sita refused Hanuman’s offer to rescue her, saying she could not be touched by another male. Then, the Goddesses Durga and Parvati are depicted nude in postures that are too obscene to be confused as art, except perhaps in a pornographic magazine. Even Saraswati has not been spared, and thus we can legitimately come to the conclusion that Mr. Husain has intentionally subjected all the major Hindu female divinities to a form of cultural iconoclasm that is vulgar beyond belief.

This view is not confined to Hindus alone, and no orthodox or secular Muslim has to date come to the defence of Mr. Husain in this matter. He has been openly condemned in television debates and the print media by his own co-religionists. Indeed, his only supporters and admirers are deracinated Hindus who have made a career out of baiting the Hindu community. Not one of these supporters would have defended him if he had subjected the sacred personalities of another faith, including his own, to such contempt. In sharp contrast, the late Dr. Rahi Masoom Raza wrote the screenplay of the tele-series Mahabharata with utmost respect and intellectual depth.

Hence, it needs to be emphasised that Hindus who believe in sarvadharma-samabhav cannot demand that Mr. Husain defame the sacred personalities of his own or another monotheistic faith if he claims artistic liberty and pretends he had no intention to defame the Hindu dharma. This is no way to ‘balance the books;’ it does not restore Hindu honour to dishonour another religion. For us, the best way forward is to ensure that the other cases are taken up seriously, with the judges concerned receiving clear copies of the impugned paintings with a graphic explanation of what is objectionable. It would then be incumbent upon the judge(s) to explain why the said divinity is not defamed, but actually honoured by Mr. Husain’s brush-work. The distinction between liberty and license must be strictly upheld.

It may be added that the controversy over the Danish cartoons against Prophet Mohammad two years ago was a deliberate attempt to outrage Muslim sentiments in Europe in order to facilitate a backlash against Muslim immigration to the continent. Muslims saw through the ruse and remained largely peaceful, though they were naturally enraged. No sensible Hindu writer in India supported the cartoonists then, and the contention that the provocation was intentional is upheld by the fact that recently the cartoons were reprinted on some puerile pretext. Deracinated Hindus who are now citizens of United Kingdom and United States were delighted with the controversy, and one is at a loss to understand why, as they have no conflict with Islam or Muslims in their new countries. It is surely a case of being more loyal than the king!

This brings us to the issue of intra-religious misdemeanours. Author Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses comes readily to mind. The deliberate insult to the Prophet’s wives earned Mr. Rushdie a fatwa and undying fame and wealth. But it needs to be added that he received an astronomical advance to write the book just ahead to the West’s pre-planned assault on the Muslim world. Seen in this perspective it became, not an intra-Islamic conflict, but part of a larger intra-religious dispute between the Christian West and the world of the Prophet, with the London-based author striking a deal with well-paying infidels.

West has only ‘junk culture’ to offer: MF Hussain


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