For research towards a film on work songs, known as Li, sung by the inhabitants of Phek village in Nagaland. These work songs and chants have no lyrics but are vocalizations, grunts and sighs that are transformed into polyphonic melodies, while their music makers are busy harvesting paddy. This research is a part of a larger project to document and share everyday music and rhythms from across India.
For research into a shawl painting tradition from Nagaland called Tsungkotepsu, towards an examination of the visual, material and social cultures of the Naga tribes. The study of Tsungkotepsu, as woven form of expression, will enhance understanding of how traditions reinvent themselves by merging with ‘larger’ traditions to ensure their own survival. The research will result in a monograph,a film, and the creation of puppets inspired by Tsungkotepsu motifs.
For the research and documentation of printed images from popular Urdu literature produced in the first half of the 20th century, leading to the creation of a curated website. This project will examine when and why Urdu went from being a mainstream language reflecting the cultural plurality of North India, to one associated with Islam.
For research towards a book on the works of Kalam Patua, a patachitra artist. This project will trace his journey from a practitioner of the traditional painting of Patuas to his transition as painter whose work is displayed in modern art galleries, particularly after the revival of the Kalighat pat in the 1990s.
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 research and documentation of the visual cultures of Northeast India, focusing on contemporary arts practices in Shillong, Guwahati and Silchar. The research will recalibrate the centre-periphery dichotomy that comes into play when engaging with the art history and practices of the Northeast, by looking at the ‘regional modernisms’ in the context of the North-East geographical and cultural affinities with South Asia and South East Asia. The project will result in an online archive, which will function as an alternative resource to supplement currently available pedagogies of art history and criticism.
For research and the making of a film on the satirical poetic tradition in Dakhani known as Mizahiya Shairi. A vibrant form in the 1940s, this tradition is now in decline, not only due to the fading syncretic socio-cultural fabric of the city of Hyderabad but also because of the erosion of the Hyderabadi style of literary Urdu and the arts associated with it. The film will explore the complex relationship between Dakhani as a regional linguistic form and the socio-political factors shaping its contemporary use.
For the translation of a three-volume book, Marathi Natkachya Tees Ratri: Ek Samajik Rajkiya Itihas from Marathi to English. The book chronicles the socio-political history of modern Marathi theatre and has the potential to inform and enrich the more mainstream, but sometimes blinkered English language discourse on the arts. An earlier IFA grant had supported the research and writing of the book.
For research towards a book in Malayalam on women’s participation in three different performance traditions in Kerala—Kathakali, Singaari Melam and Mudiyattam. Through documentation and analysis of female interventionist strategies within the folk and classical arts, the project will shed light on emergent female aesthetics within these traditions and fill a serious gap in academic and popular perceptions of female performers in Kerala.
For research towards a book and an exhibition on the impact of the Rajasthan government’s policy on and patronage of public art projects in Jaipur. The book will examine the reasons for the surge in state-commissioned public art works in the last ten years and how these works reflect a larger political and cultural ideology. The effect of each new government’s changing policy on the content, form and location of public art projects in the city will also be studied. The exhibition will include photographs and a map of public art projects in Jaipur.