Art and Identity Abstract Essay

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Art and shaping of the social and cultural Indian identity Gaurav Aggarwal February 24, 2014 Abstract From centuries, artists in their artworks have tried to capture the essence of India: the land, people and their issues. This art is explicitly or implicitly related to the cultural and/or social Indian identity. The objective of this term paper is to examine how art and the related discourse participate in shaping the identity and to what extent can we rely on art as a conveyor of the identity. Art is not just about depiction of sights and aesthetics but is rather a very strong medium to express ideas, experiences and beliefs. The aim would be to explore how this medium shapes the identities of the makers, subjects and audiences. To understand this, we would explore the art in the Indian context and would try to draw conclusions on the typical societal and cultural stereotypes that exist. Chronologically, Indian art can be divided into four major categories. These include the ancient period, the Mughal period, the colonial period and the post-independence or the current period. We would try to examine different styles in these historical periods of artworks; compare the changes; identify the images that symbolise the Indian lifestyle and landscape; discuss the issues of the past and present conveyed through art. Using a range of examples from the historical, indigenous and contemporary State Art collections, we would try to comment on orientalism, portrayal of women in Indian culture, use of artistic conventions, mediums, images and objects to depict Indian lifestyle and society. Identity, whether geopolitical, ethnic, gendered, institutional or personal, is not static. It is fluid, it is changing and art as a medium participates in shaping this identity of the artist and the audience with time. An account based on a selected collection of art works will be

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