Grant Period: Over two years
Dr Jyotish Joshi is a Delhi-based writer, art critic and columnist. He is currently the editor of Samkaaleen Kala, a Hindi magazine on the visual arts, published by the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. He has been a JRF scholar and has a PhD in Hindi literature (on the novels of the writer Jainendra Jain). He writes columns on art and art criticism for Hindi publications like Katahadesh, Dainik Jagran and Rangayan. He has also published a number of books on literary criticism and art criticism, the most recent being Bhartiya Kala Ke Hastakshar, in which he has profiled some of the most accomplished contemporary visual artists of India.
The project, Bhartiya Kala: Chintan Aur Chayan, has two stages. In the first stage Dr Joshi will review writings on the arts in Hindi over the last century and select over 100 representative articles that track the evolution of critical writing on the visual arts in the language. In the second stage, he will develop detailed, analytical essays in Hindi, evaluating the contribution of 50 major visual artists of the twentieth century. Dr Joshi believes that critical writing on the visual arts has been a neglected area of study in India. There is evidence to suggest that writing on the arts has a long history not only in Sanskrit but also in ancient languages like Pali, Apabrahmsa and Prakrit. Even writing on the arts in modern Hindi has a tradition that spans more than a century. The twentieth century has seen a large and eclectic body of writing on the arts in general, and the visual arts in particular, produced in Hindi. Dr Joshi will compile essays and articles on the visual arts which find writers and intellectuals debating issues posed by modernist stances and critiquing the processes that have influenced the ‘swadeshi’ art forms. He will organise the essays according to the period in which they were written to illustrate the changes in practices and concerns in the visual arts. He will then analyse the relationship between the socio-political context and the nature of critical debates in a particular age. Dr Joshi points out that the conception of the visual arts and the place of the artist in society has undergone radical transformation over the years. The rapid growth of the international art market has markedly changed how the visual arts are viewed by the public and how artists perceive their work. The indigenous arts, which have traditionally engaged with their immediate contexts, are now struggling for survival in the wake of global market forces.
Dr Joshi’s compilation will include writings by Bhartendu Harishchandra, Pratap Narayan Mishra, Premchand, Jayshankar Prasad, Sumitranandan Pant, Shrikant Verma, Vidyaniwas Mishra and Nirmal Verma among others. He will make a selection from the essays of over 100 writers, and then present the essays with a comprehensive introduction. In the next stage, he will undertake a critical study of the work of 50 major visual artists of the twentieth century, who have engaged with modernism and shaped the direction of the visual arts in contemporary India. He will critique and assess the works of Raja Ravi Verma, Abanindranath Tagore, Amrita Shergill, Nandlal Bose, Krishna Reddy, S.H. Raza, M.F. Hussain, Vikas Bhattacharjee, Shanko Chaudhary, Paritosh Sen and Anjolie Ela Menon. He will also review/analyse the available literature on their work. The outcome of his research will be the first systematic and in-depth critical study of contemporary art in Hindi. Dr Joshi has indicated that Medha Books, Yash Publications and Vani Prakashan would be interested in publishing his manuscript.