Arts Research

David Farris

Grant Period: One year and six months

For a research-based study on the collapse of the infrastructure of celluloid film distribution in India, in the wake of digital distribution. The project aims to capture the dynamic and complex histories across multiple film industries in India, in a rapidly changing environment. The outcome of the project will be an essay and a detailed set of notes on the current film distribution system. The Grantee's deliverables to IFA with the Final Report will be the audio-visual recording of interviews, photographs, the essay and notes. Grant funds will pay for costs towards an honorarium,  travel and living, materials, professional fees for resource persons, and an accountant’s fee. 

Sharbendu De

Grant Period: One year and six months

For a practice-based study on the lives of the Lisus, an indigenous forest-dwelling community in the Namdapha National Park and Tiger Reserve located on the Indo-Myanmar border of Arunachal Pradesh. Through the use of photography and video, the project will explore alternative aesthetic approaches to the depiction of tribal culture while consciously moving away from exoticised colonial and anthropological visual constructions of tribal communities. Further, it will examine the construction of stereotypes and the politics of representation of marginalised communities. The outcome of this project will be photographs and an audio-visual installation with podcasts and videos. The Grantee’s deliverables to IFA with the final reports will be images, materials from the audio-visual documentation and an accompanying manuscript.  Grant funds will pay for costs towards an honorarium, professional fees, travel and living, labour, equipment rental and purchase, installation and an accountant’s fee.

Rohit Kumar

Grant Period: One year and six months

For research to study the discourse of dissent in the art form of Natua Nach of Bihar. The project will explore ways in which Dalit folklore takes the form of political expression and resistance, challenging caste and social oppression and hierarchy. It will also look at transformations in the form over the last few years with the advent of technology and modernisation, and the role it plays in contemporary society as a platform for the marginalised. The outcome of this project will be a manuscript for a book. The Grantee’s deliverables to IFA with the Final reports will be the manuscript, an audio-visual documentation of the Natua Nach performances and interviews conducted in the field. Grant funds will pay for costs towards an honorarium, travel and living, equipment rental, stationery and books, typing and printing, and an accountant’s fee.

Rajesh Devraj

Grant Period: One year and six months

For research to study the life and work of Baburao Painter—producer, director, and founder of the Maharashtra Film Company. The project will study the evolution of regional cinema in Kolhapur in Maharashtra by situating Baburao’s work amidst the literary and visual cultures of his time, tracing his influence on and connections with contemporary artists, thinkers, writers, and political figures. The outcome will be a biography. The Grantee’s deliverables to IFA with the Final reports will be the manuscript of the book including images. Grant funds will pay for costs towards an honorarium, professional fees, travel and accommodation, and an accountant’s fee.

V Padma (A Mangai)

Grant Period: One year and six months

For research to write a critical history of Tamil theatre during the early 20th century, studying the writings of Pammal Sammadha Mudaliar, who is considered the founding father of modern Tamil theatre. The project will critically examine the categorisation of Tamil theatre into ‘rural’ and ‘urban’ forms, highlighting the struggles of theatre practitioners against the backdrop of anti-colonial and the emergent anti-Brahminical movements in the region. The outcome will be a manuscript for a book. The Grantee’s deliverables to IFA with the Final reports will be the manuscript with images and excerpts of translations from the writings of Pammal and interviews conducted in the field. Grant funds will pay for costs towards an honorarium, research assistance, travel and living, stationery and documentation, typing and  printing, and an accountant’s fee. 

K P Jayakumar

Grant Period: One year and six months

For research into the colonial visual narratives of the landscape and people in the High Ranges of Kerala in British India. While the project will study how European photographers, ethnographers, and travellers documented the everyday lives of people in the region, it will also critique the colonial gaze. It will examine the ways in which the stereotypical colonial constructions of the ‘civilised/uncivilised’ binary were foregrounded on physical representations of the natives, who were photographed as staged subjects against exotic backdrops. The outcome will be a photo-essay and an exhibition. The Grantee’s deliverables to IFA with the final reports will be the essay and photographic documentation from various collections across Kerala. Grant funds will pay for travel and accommodation, professional fee, books and stationery, typing, printing and designing, exhibition, and an accountant’s fee.

Deepti Navaratna

Grant Period: One year and six months

For research on the Royal Carnatic Orchestra of the Mysore Court which has now evolved into the Mysore Police Band. It will trace the journey of the Orchestra from being considered as ‘exotic’ in 19th-century India to the current perception of it being an ignored ‘relic’ of the British Raj. The project will also examine the ways in which the Band, which was instated to safeguard the ‘culturally pristine form’ of Carnatic music against the backdrop of socio-political and cultural transformation in South India, has been excluded from mainstream discourses. The outcome will be a manuscript for a book. The Grantee’s deliverables to IFA with the Final Report will be the manuscript, audio-visual footage of recordings and performances, and notations of the music of the Band. Grant funds will pay for costs towards an honorarium, professional fees, travel and accommodation, equipment rental, fee to institutions for copying relevant documents and records, and an accountant’s fee.

Bhagath Singh A

Grant Period: one year and six months

For research into the evolution and development of the music culture of Gaana in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. A popular form of music practised among the marginalised of urban Chennai, Gaana in recent years has become a powerful medium of socio-cultural and political expressions. Through extensive documentation of Gaana songs, the lives of its performers, and an in-depth analysis of its content, this project attempts to study this form within the larger context of society, politics, and culture of Chennai in particular and Tamil Nadu in general. The outcome will be a series of essays/articles in Little Magazines in Tamil and a book. The Grantee's deliverables to IFA with the Final Report will be the essays and, video and still documentation from the project. Grant funds will pay for costs towards an honorarium, food and accommodation, local travel, equipment rental, professional fees, books, materials and stationery and an accountant’s fee.

Aditi Maddali

Grant Period: One year and six months

For research towards an understanding of the labour songs sung by women in Telangana, with a focus on Uyyala Paatalu, which are predominantly sung by women who work in the fields or the informal sector. The project will explore the socio-political and cultural relevance of these songs in the present-day context by looking at the subversive histories with the participation of women in the Telangana People’s Movement along with their struggles against patriarchal and caste oppression. The outcome will be a film. The outcome of this project and the Grantee's deliverables to IFA with the Final Report will be a film. Grant funds will cover costs towards equipment rental, professional fees, local travel and food, and an accountant’s fee.

Sandesh Bhandare

Grant Period: over one year and six months

For research into the changing practices and ecology of the performance form of Tamasha across Maharashtra. Building on earlier work also supported by IFA, this project entails revisiting, after nearly fifteen years, villages in the Konkan, western and northern Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Marathwada regions to document photographically the cumulative impact of socio-political and economic forces on the art form and the lives of its performers. The outcome of this project will be photographs with field notes. 

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