Mimicking Anthropologists: Re-Membering a Photo Archive via Pata Paintings, Performative Mimesis, and Photo Performance

  • Parul Dave Mukherji


This chapter revisits a documentation project in 1985, when the artists N. Pushpamala and Ayisha Abraham and the author visited Naya Village in Midnapore district of West Bengal in India as postgraduate students of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India. This documentation project was conceptualized by Professor Gulam Mohammed Sheikh to address the wide gulf that existed between folk artists and art school-trained artists and art historians. Subsequently, the photographs that were made as part of the project got immersed in archival oblivion. Only recently did they get excavated by Pushpamala who scribbled on the back of one of the photographs, ‘Visiting Anthropologists!’ This is a parody that has been turned into a heuristic device in the chapter to stage a larger conversation across anthropology, art history, and contemporary art practice.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parul Dave Mukherji
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Arts and AestheticsJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia

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