Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationYale U.
Grant numberGr. 10020
Approve DateAugust 28, 2020
Project TitlePareek, Shivangi (Yale U.) "‘We only paint stories we heard from our ancestors’: Adivasi art in a Contemporary Art-World"
Production and consumption of Adivasi art is undergoing radical shifts in India. This project explores the processes and political possibilities entailed in the emergence of Adivasi art as a participant in a globalized ‘contemporary’ art world. It asks what entry into this category of art practice means for a group of people who have historically been denied contemporaneity by giving them “primitive” or “backward” ‘tribal’ status. This project is situated in a regional but globally connected Gond Adivasi art-world in Bhopal, India and studies its expanding networks. Attentive to how indigenous art enters circuits of global capital, the project asks how emerging global contemporary art -worlds are attentive to complexities of indigenous cultural production and a post-colonial context. Through 18 months of ethnographic research, this project will study networks of production and exhibition and explore the potential of contemporary art-worlds to reconfigure inequalities in space and time layered with tropes of marginalization, primitivism, and backwardness. Working primarily with artists, but also curators, and some bureaucrats in Bhopal, Delhi and Kochi, the ethnography will pay attention to competing perspectives, interests, alliances and the disjunctures that emerge in these settings.