Indian Crafts: Traditions and Expressions

Venue The Adil Shah Palace

In the Western discourse, the so-called categories of folk and tribal arts and crafts have been considered under several antithetical binaries, such as magical versus aesthetic, collective versus individualistic, craft versus art, and traditional versus contemporary. By any standard, the two components of each of these binaries are not mutually exclusive—an object need not be bereft of artistic intent and properties while serving a magical function; it may be a part of a collective tradition of belief and visual idiom and still may have been produced with an identifiable individual’s skill and aesthetic vision; if an object is labour-intensive, it still could be an inventive personal creation; and lastly, tradition has never been a static entity but is always evolving, imbibing and responding to external cultural contacts and in that sense continuously ‘contemporary’. H. Gene Blocker’s description of “primitive art” equally applies to craft: it is not devoid of aesthetic interest—it is created by a conscious producer of art, it is subject to critical appraisal, and is set apart from ordinary life; it represents the world or events literally or symbolically and involves the possibility of innovation within a tradition. The exhibition Indian Crafts: Tradition and Expression is based on these ideas.

  • Visual Arts