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Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

Folk and Minor Art in india

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and NPTEL via Swayam


  • Indian folk artistry is uniquely recognized all over the world not only for richness of aesthetics but also as indicators of age-old habitual belief.
  • They comprise of tacit knowledge that is protected by passing on through generations.
  • Having said that one must also consider the folk artists as creative individuals with adequate freedom of expression to keep the tradition alive and going.
  • In India, the mainstream academic style of art synergized with the principle of vernacular art and culture to boost ‘Nationalistic’ idea as well as ‘Modernism’ since pre-colonial era.
  • The course traces the journey of an array of indigenous art styles from traditional to contemporary and comments on sustainability of culture through preservation, conservation and paradigm shift.

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Students and researchers of Fine Arts, Design, History of Art, Performing Art, Visual Culture, Museology, Archeology, Sociology

PREREQUISITES: Bachelor Degree in Humanities



Week 1: Changing definition of Folk and Minor Art Timeline and Regions: General Mapping Traditional Roots: Elements and Principles Timelessness : Primitive Connection Evolution in Purpose: Ritualistic to Propagative Contemporary PracticeWeek 2: Classification and Connections: Traditional Roots Available literary recourses Mythical Associations Idea of Nationalism in the Context of Folk art Idea of Modernism In the context of Folk Art Relevance of the Art PracticeWeek 3: Contextualization and Decontextualization Concept of Communication for Social Purpose Aesthetic Perspective Secularity and Religious Plurality Ethnographic perspective on the study of Folk Art and Culture About the Exponents who brought the culture under the limelightWeek 4: Contextualization and Decontextualization School of Art in Madhubani Painting Art as a Feminine Preserve vs the Male painters of Madhubani Yamapata, Pytkar and other art practice of Jharkhand Yamapata by the Jadopatias Sohari Painters and their Art Patachitra of Bengal and OdishaWeek 5: Continuum of the Practice: Ancient Centres and Contemporary Case study 1 Stylistic Variety in Bengal Case study 2 Stylistic Variety in Odisha Case study 3 Stylistic Variety in Andhra Pradesh Exponents and their Contributions Hypothesis on Possible Stylistic influencesWeek 6: Characteristics of Contemporary Collection Thematic Analysis Iconic Analysis Semiotic Analysis Effect of narratives: Qualitative Evaluation Individual Expression in Contemporary ArtWeek 7: Cultural Condition: Colonial and Post colonial Ideologies Social Formation during Preindependence New Aesthetics: early Prints and Battala Prints Artist Block Makers and Hybrid Aesthetics of Urban Folk Art Kalighat Painting to Haripura Posters: A synergy Jamini Roy: Accommodating Vernacular Idiom in Academic PracticeWeek 8: Coexistence and Collaborations with Mainstream Art Strategies for Future and Sustainability: Vision and Revision Alternative Context: place of folk art in Contemporary Lifestyle Ancient literary sources and canonization: Scholarly Comments Need of Paradigm Shift Conclusion

Taught by

Shatarupa Thakurta Roy



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