For research into the narratives of the Khla or the tiger as a cultural, social and political symbol in Khasi cultural practices. Inquiring into oral traditions, existing literature and cultural artefacts, this project seeks to understand the gender and political connotations of the tiger; the transitions that have taken place in the tiger cult of Meghalaya post the influence of Christianity; and the changes in human-tiger relationships that have been affected by modern environment laws. The outcome of this project will be an exhibition and a website.
For research to develop a modern, metaphoric interpretation of classical Tamil poetry and artistic depiction of the desert landscape of Palai in Sangam literature. In a cinematic form, the exploration will foreground the context of Tamil workers who have migrated to the Middle East.
For research into visual arts and other cultural forms associated with the notion of representing the landscape of the Rahr (red soil) region of the district of Birbhum, West Bengal. The project will critically engage with the methodology of documentation as collective recollection. Through a dialogic method of archiving these practices, the researcher will engage in workshops with various scholars and practitioners of the region. The outcome of this project will be a visual book of images and processes of the workshops at the six locations.
For research into the progressive transformation of the raagini in Haryana through the expressions of women and Dalits. Exploring the effects on the social structure of Haryana through the 19th century reform movements and the freedom struggle, the project will focus on the experiences of participation and acceptance of women and Dalit writers and practitioners in the art form. The outcome of this project will be a monograph.
For a film, that will depict through a musical journey, the narrative of a community called the Savita Samaj whose story has remained untold in spite of being musicians of the Nadaswaram over centuries. Using the instrument as a visual metaphor, the film will explore the socio-economic issues that are influencing the sweeping changes in the lives of the community members and the agony of their loss of a great open-air musical school.
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 the history of contemporary dance in Bengal, through the journeys of feminist dancer-choreographers Manjusri Chaki Sircar and Ranjabati Sircar. Focusing on the social, political and personal histories of the dancers, the study will explore their interventions in the practice as they drew from medieval inheritances, colonial legacies and postcolonial promises to create new languages for dance. The outcome of this project will be a monograph.
For research into the aesthetic theory in the Anoirol, an ancient Meitei text on the art of movements, abandoned in the mainstream discourse of the performing arts. The study will explore various aspects and beliefs on past and future life associated with ecological preservation and its deep-rooted animism as prescribed in the text. The enquiry will emphasise the critical need to read Manipuri dance by the principles of discourses in its own indigenous context rather than homogenising it through the prism of foreign texts like the Natyashastra. The outcome of this project will be a monograph.
For research on one of the kshetra kalas – the Poothan Thira, a ritual and performance based art form of the Mannan community in North Kerala. Using an auto-ethnographic approach, the researcher will create biographies of ten objects deemed significant to the art form, gleaned from conversations with ten community members. The outcome of this project will be a photo-essay and a digital online exhibition.
For research to study the construction of identity by representation through photographic images. The project will focus on the photographs of the Konyak Nagas by ethnologist Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf, that is responsible for creating the archetypal Naga stereotype. The outcome of this research will be an exhibition.