For working with the collections of ‘Mann Maps’ at the Kalakriti Archives in Hyderabad, Telangana. The Kalakriti Archives house the largest collection of maps in India. Sirisha will conduct research on these maps of Hyderabad city commissioned by the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1908 after the devastating floods in the city, which were created under the supervision of Leonard Munn, the chief inspector of mines under the Nizam regime. The study proposes to use the survey maps as tools to explore the non-physical aspects of the city’s topography. Using landscape as text, and oral histories, the project will provide insights into the social and cultural geographies of particular neighbourhoods in the city. The outcomes could include a series of events like lectures, discussions, workshops, and a paper. She will also think of organising ‘city walks’ in select areas of the city.
For research to excavate the discursive formation of pedagogy in arts schools in Hyderabad forged by the individual journeys of artists trained at different art schools across India, who wove a network that linked the region with other cities. The attempt is to understand arts practice of this region and its history, without participating in its national narrative and challenging the same. The outcome of this project will be a monograph.
For research into India’s disparate botanical art traditions, focusing on four colonial botanical texts ranging from the seventeenth-century Hortus Indicus Malabaricus to the nineteenth-century Flora Indica. The research will involve matching the texts with what exists in the gardens, and making visible the unnamed indigenous botanical artists of Company paintings as well as the variations in botanical iconography across diverse print media: engravings, watercolours, and lithographs. This research is part of a larger project to document an Indian botanical ‘Ark-ive’ or a visual genealogy of botanical arts traditions on the printed page. The outcome will be a website.
For research into the community tradition of kirtan singing through a study of five kirtan mandalis located in South Delhi. The project will focus on women’s mandalis, while exploring the dynamics of kirtans as a community performance and an arts practice. It will attempt to understand how gender, caste and socio-economic composition are reflected in the kirtan mandali aesthetics and how that in turn shapes the experience of community for its participants.
For documenting the traditional designs of the cotton handloom weaving industry of Andhra Pradesh. The project will also foster initiatives to produce new designs and create quality textiles in a few production centres in Andhra Pradesh.
For workshops by a theatre director, a classical dance exponent and a traditional folk theatre group to share teaching and performance techniques and practices. The collaboration is expected to help the theatre group to formulate survival strategies, the dancer to reintroduce narrative singing and storytelling into Kuchipudi performance, and the director to strengthen training for his actors.
For research into the architectural styles of the under-documented Deccan region, with a focus on the built heritage of the Qutb Shahi period. Base maps of the Golconda Fort area, and a monograph on the evolution of architectural styles within it, will be prepared, helping leverage support for the development of the area as a heritage zone.