Adivasi Art and Activism
Curation in a Nationalist Age
- PUBLISHED: February 2022
- SUBJECT LISTING: Anthropology, Asian Studies / South Asia, Art History / Native American and Indigenous Art, Visual Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 256 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 14 b&w illus.
- SERIES: Global South Asia
- ISBN: 9780295749709
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
As India consolidates an aggressive model of economic development, indigenous tribal people known as adivasis continue to be overrepresented among the country’s poor. Adivasis make up more than eight hundred communities in India, with a total population of more than a hundred million people who speak more than three hundred different languages. Although their historical presence is acknowledged by the state and they are lauded as a part of India’s ethnic identity today, their poverty has been compounded by the suppression of their cultural heritage and lifestyle.
In Adivasi Art and Activism, Alice Tilche draws on anthropological fieldwork conducted in rural western India to chart changes in adivasi aesthetics, home life, attire, food, and ideas of religiosity that have emerged from negotiation with the homogenizing forces of Hinduization, development, and globalization in the twenty-first century. She documents curatorial projects located not only in museums and art institutions, but in the realms of the home, the body, and the landscape. Adivasi Art and Activism raises vital questions about preservation and curation of indigenous material and provides an astute critique of the aesthetics and politics of Hindu nationalism.
Authors & Contributors
Alice Tilche is lecturer in anthropology, museums, and heritage at the University of Leicester. She is coeditor of The Future of the Rural World? India’s Villages, 1950–2015.
The book offers a fascinating case study that, on the surface, is about a new museum of indigenous expression. The story runs much deeper than that, however, and Tilche skillfully weaves together interlocking narratives about identity, belonging, religion, and politics.- IIAS Newsletter
An important and timely contribution to South Asian anthropology, visual culture, and indigenous studies. In foregrounding the visual politics of contemporary adivasi identity, it seeks to break the mold of existing studies that tend to be more narrowly boxed into the disciplinary boundaries of art historical or anthropological studies.- Rashmi Varma, author of The Postcolonial City and Its Subject: London, Nairobi, Bombay
A substantial and evocatively conjured account of the paradoxes of Adivasi aesthetic and political identity. Offers brilliant and illuminating insights into the ambivalent dynamics of affirmation and disparagement, and indigeneity and nation, in an increasingly majoritarian India.- Christopher Pinney, coauthor of Artisan Camera: Studio Photography from Central India