Speaking with Pictures

Folk Art and the Narrative Tradition in India

By Roma Chatterji

© 2016 – Routledge India

326 pages | 139 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781138961609
pub: 2015-09-23
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415523011
pub: 2012-06-12
US Dollars$160.00

About the Book

Speaking with Pictures offers a path-breaking exploration of visual narratives in folk art. It foregrounds folk art’s engagement with modernity by re-looking at its figurative modes and the ways in which they are embedded in mythic thought. The book discusses folk art as a contemporary phenomenon which is a part of a complex visual culture where the ‘essence’ of tradition is best captured in a ‘new’ form or medium. Each chapter picks up a theme that moves between the local and the global, thereby attempting to problematise the stereotypical view of folk artists as carriers of ‘timeless tradition’. The volume provides an ethnographic account of innovations through a detailed analysis of the scroll painting tradition of the patuas of West Bengal and the Pardhan-Gond style of Madhya Pradesh, highlighting some recent attempts at inter-medium exchange in storytelling.

The book will interest those in visual and popular culture in anthropology, sociology, literary criticism and folklore. It will also be of immense value to art historians, museologists, curators and NGOs working in media and communication, apart from those with a general interest in folk art.

Table of Contents

List of Plates. Glossary. Acknowledgements. 1. Folk Art: What kind of Object is it? 2. Global Events and Local Narratives: 9/11 and the Chitrakars 3. Words and Images: Storytelling in Gond 4. Patua Art and the Graphic Novel: An Experiment in Intertextual Communication 5. Conclusion: Pictures and Myths. Bibliography. Appendix I: People of Ancient Times. Appendix II: The Chameleon’s Dreams. Appendix IIIa: The Story of Ramayana. Appendix IIIb: Abduction of Sita. Appendix IV: Sita Harana. About the Author. Index

About the Author

Roma Chatterji is Professor, Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi.

About the Series

Critical Asian Studies

Critical Asian Studies is devoted to in-depth studies of emergent social and cultural phenomena in the countries of the region. While recognizing the important ways in which the specific and often violent histories of the nation-state have influenced the social formations in this region, the hooks in this series also examine the processes of translation, exchange, boundary crossings in the linked identities and histories of the region. The authors in this series engage with social theory through ethnographically grounded research and archival work.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General