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"
SHIVANGI PAREEK, then a graduate student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded funding in August 2020 to aid research on “‘We Only Paint Stories We Heard from Our Ancestors’: Adivasi art in a Contemporary Art-World,” supervised by Dr. Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan. Production and consumption of Adivasi arts is an expanding field in contemporary India. Simultaneously the original inhabitants and modern primitives, Adivasis continue to find and assert a place within the diversity of Indian subcontinent, projects of nationalism, and questions of modernity. This project explores the processes and political possibilities entailed in the emergence of Adivasi art as a participant in a globalized ‘contemporary’ art world. In a context of socio-economic and historical inequalities which have marked the ‘tribal’ as a culturally deficient Other trapped in an unchanging past, this project asks ‘ how does the assertion of temporal contemporaneity for Adivasis, through a reframing of their art as ‘contemporary’, reconfigure their historical marginalization? 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. The project hopes to advance our understanding of indigenous cultural production in South Asia through an ethnographic study of the making of Adivasi arts and artists in central India