SMArt Talks: Chittaprosad’s Famine Sketches in Light of Decolonial Aesthetics

We cordially invite you to another lecture evening from the SMArt Talks cycle. The talk, Chittaprosad’s Famine Sketches in Light of Decolonial Aesthetics, will be given by Avishek Ray, a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Modern Art & Theory. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, 27th of February 2024, from 18:00 in the Hans Belting Library (Faculty of Arts, MU, Veveří 28, Brno).

27 Feb 2024

Abstract: In 1943, Bengal witnessed one of its foundational tragedies: the fifteenth and the deadliest famine in colonial India. This famine was man-made, and was further aggravated due to imperial policies. To absolve its liability, the colonial administration, for about a year, was in complete disavowal of the famine. Meanwhile, Chittaprosad (1915–1978) made impromptu sketches of the famine, which were soon to be dismissed by the Government of (British) India. The talk discusses the competing, and often contentious, relation between two forms of pictorial testimony – the official and the aesthetic – of the famine; and as importantly, how Chittaprosad’s representations negotiate the matrix of colonial power, archival truth, cultural memory and testimonial evidentialism.

Avishek Ray teaches at the National Institute of Technology Silchar (India). He is the author of 'The Vagabond in the South Asian Imagination: Representation, Agency & Resilience' (Routledge, 2021) and co-editor of 'Nation, Nationalism and the Public Sphere: Religious Politics in India' (SAGE, 2020). His research appears in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, Contemporary South Asia, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Multicultural Education Review, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies, Tourism, Culture & Communication, among others. He has held research fellowships at the University of Edinburgh (UK), Purdue University Library (USA), Centre for Advanced Study, Sofia (Bulgaria), Mahidol University (Thailand) and Pavia University (Italy). In 2021, he was awarded a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship.

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