SEPTEMBER 1-30, 2011
An exhibition of South Asian Folk Art will be on view during the month of September, 2011, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s ArtLab. The exhibition features magnificent examples of modern art from India—but art that is executed by artists working in styles/medias, and from backgrounds and perspectives, that are not based on Western art traditions. Works for the show come from private collections of South Asian folk art in Maine, Connecticut, Ohio, and here in Birmingham, Alabama.
South Asian folk art, in its many rich and complex manifestations, has traditionally been created in the rural areas that still comprise over 70% of South Asia. Rather than serving as individual creations or “art for art’s sake,” folk art in South Asia has generally been created by members of specific communities to serve a variety of purposes, including performative and ritual as well as aesthetic ones. Many of these traditional art forms have been handed down from generation to generation, perhaps from mother to daughter, or have been created by a caste of painters in a master-apprentice relationship. Although there is great range of regional and stylistic diversity in South Asian folk art, there are common threads running through.
HANDWORK: South Asian Folk Art Now is made possible through the generous support of:
Dr. Ambika and Dr. Khaleel Ashraf, Dr. Sati and Dr. Subhankar Bandyopadhyay, Mrs. Rebekah and Mr. Bryan Council, Mrs. Divya and Mr. Santhosh Keshavan, Dr. Rupa and Dr. Dave Kitchens, Dr. Vineeta and Dr. Vijay Kodali, Mrs. Geeta and Dr. Rohit Malik, Mr. Jeet Radia, Dr. Pia Sen and Mr. Sanjeev Chaudhuri, Mrs. Dora and Dr. Sanjay Singh, Dr. Farah and Dr. Parvez Sultan, Mr. Jon Whetsell
The Edward and Hermione Friend Lecture
featuring Dr. Stephen Huyler,
Hulsey Recital Hall
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15: 6:00pm
Stephen P. Huyler is an art historian, cultural anthropologist, photographer, and author. He has spent a large art of the last thirty-two years traveling in Indian villages documenting craftsmanship and traditional and contemporary cultures. His focus during the past decade has been on the sacred arts and spiritual rituals of practical Hinduism. Much of his work has been focused on women’s art and identity in India, in particular art of the domestic sphere, and women’s ritual art. His most recent exhibition, “Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing,” at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego in 2010, featured self-taught artist Sonabai Rajawar who lived in enforced isolation for 15 years in a remote village in central India, creating her own joyous sculptural environment. Through the necessity of expressing her own vision in the face of tremendous adversity, Sonabai developed her innovative art form, which she later taught to other artists.
Come enjoy as Dr. Huyler shares his stores and images of the remarkable women of India and the art they create.
Folk Art and the Empowerment of Women:
A Pubic Conversation, at UAB's ArtLab
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16: 12:30PM
Gail Andrews, Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art and an expert in southern American folk art, talks with Stephen Huyler, art historian, cultural anthropologist, photographer, and author, and artist, collector, and curator, Kathryn Myers about the revival of traditional arts—in India and the US—from the viewpoints of economic development, social change, advances in the status of women, and the impact of such efforts on the folk art traditions in South Asia and the American south. While efforts to preserve and make folk art available to a wider public are admirable, they may serve to distort traditional function and form. What happens to notions of “authenticity” when contemporary artists collaborate with folk artists, when traditional styles are appropriated by urban artists, and as folk artists are exposed to new materials and motifs?