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Adivasi Art and Activism: Curation in a Nationalist Age

Adivasi Art and Activism: Curation in a Nationalist Age

As India consolidates an aggressive model of economic development, indigenous tribal people – the 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 speaking 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, 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 homogenising forces of Hinduisation, development, and globalisation 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.

“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

  • Author

    ALICE TILCHE is lecturer in anthropology, museums, and heritage at the University of Leicester. She is co-editor of The Future of the Rural World? India’s Villages, 1950–2015.

  • Details


    254 pages

    In the Hedgehog and Fox series, copublished with Ashoka University

    You can buy this book from our distributors Orient Blackswan or from good bookstores, or from online portals.

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