Blurring the Divide: Folk Art and Classical Art

Blurring the Divide: Folk Art and Classical Art

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2005.“Blurring the Divide: Folk art and Classical Art.” Departmental Journal of Folklore(lokodOrpon), Kalyani University. (pp. 181-93)

Presented in the Seminars:
2005. “Folk Art and Classical Art”. Seminar on “Folk Art”, Department of Folklore, Kalyani University, 23rd February 2005. (INVITED)

2002. “Blurring the divide: Folk Art and Classical Art.” A seminar on “Art Expressions and Socio-Linguistics.” Organized by Central Institute of Indian Languages, Ministry Of Human Resource, Government Of India, Mysore and Netaji Subha Open University, Kolkata. (INVITED)

Manomohan: So, I decided, after finishing my graduation, I would join Art College. Suddenly, one day I got a foreign magazine. After opening it, what I saw is a full page picture of a bison! It was not a photograph — but a drawing! … (the bison is) charging by its horn. You know, it was a wonderful picture — what strength, what a vigorous gesture, as if de Vinci is defeated. Who did draw such picture-- who is that artist! The caption says that twenty thousand years ago, in the stone age a primitive human drew this picture in the wall of a cave in Spain’s Altamira. The event was so surprising that I said in myself that I saluted you, my dear brother, bison, whatever I would be in my life but not an artist. No Art School of the world can teach me to draw like this. From this point, I was curious about the dividing practice — the divide between civilized and uncivilized…
--An excerpts from Satyajit Ray’s film ‘Agantuk’ (The Stranger)

Binodbihari Mukhopadhyay, an almost blind artist (on whom Satyajit Ray, a student of Mukhopadhyay, made a documentary film, “The Inner Eye”), once (1978) depicted an incident, from which he had learnt something extraordinary. At the time of drawing a herd of Buffalos at the bank of the river Khoay, Santiniketan, some Santal (a so-called “tribe” of India. I am reluctunt enough to call a ‘group’ of Homo Sapiens as “tribe”.) women intervened and commented, “babu, you have drawn the group of buffalos excellently, but why do you not put a buffalo-kid in your picture?” 

Taking cue from the problems inaugurated by Monmohan in “The Stranger” and this narrative depicted by Mukhopadhyay, we can problematize the issues of this paper from two standpoints: 
A. Art school cannot teach art per se; 
B. The division between civilized and non-civilized is not tenable and can be reverted. 
In this paper, I will concentrate to these two problems by further problematizing the art-science division in connection with A and B by reinterpreting and questioning the folk-non-folk dichotomy in the realm of Art. The organization of the paper is as follows:

• Section-2 starts with a small reiteration of my earlier stands on the construct of “Folk”. 
• Section-3 deals with the Art-Science divide by only concentrating on Foucault’s statements regarding the division between Ars erotica and scientia sexualis.
• Section-4 will discuss problem B in connection with the polemic on “Indian” Art as well as Folk-Classical Art dichotomy.
• Section-5 will briefly comment on the schooling in relation to artistic creation.

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Comment by LIviaFilotico on May 24, 2012 at 2:43pm

What a beautiful piece! I have dived into the concept of 'the constructed other myself' especially as concerning the 'Idea of Africa'. Thank you for such a pleasant read!


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