CFP: Special Issue on Contemporary Art Practices in Twenty-first Century India: : Rural & Urban, Collective & Individual

To be guest-edited by
Dr. Sanjay Sen Gupta
School of Fine Arts, Amity University Kolkata

The Theme

The term ‘contemporary’ means anything and everything that live-in or belong-to or occur-in the same epoch, especially the present. Though ‘contemporary art’ in that case has often been misused and hence misleading – keeping away the absolute majority out of the context. In most of its applications, the phrase remains limited or restricted to the arena of avant garde art practices, mostly limited in the cities, often displayed in the galleries, promoted by urban mediators, propagated by the metropolitan art magazines, practiced by individual or at times collective city-dwellers, and purchased by the riches – either investors or collectors. Thus the vast and rich panorama of living-traditions, both from the rural folk and tribal genre, have always been forgotten or avoided as the ‘other’ – as something that belong to the past, as outdated or as something irrelevant. Only a handful of these collective-practices are occasionally recalled as abrupt sources of aesthetic-inspiration for the avant garde, as and when required, merely to establish the authenticity and socio-cultural-historical relevance of any ‘contemporary archetype.’

The same is true in most of the discourses in Indian art, while the unique demography of the country itself defies such incomplete connotations. However, occasional efforts have been displayed in the recent times to showcase both avant garde and the folk-tribal, urban and rural, the individual and the collective under one roof – but the approach of the organizers, the urban-liberals, has always remained as not of a true comrade, but of a savior. Hence the desired synthesis has always remained a distant dream – even in the twenty-first century, the era of global-multiple. However the issue was raised by Tapati Guha Thakurta, if not also by someone else, when she threw the question unanswered to a group of avant garde practitioners. She insisted that time has already come to check and find how the living-folk and the living-tribal could be accommodated in the contemporary space of Indian art.

The issue is yet to be resolved and our perception is yet to be changed. However Chitrolekha finds this to be inevitable and hence initiated this discourse towards the cause and need of ‘unified excellence’. The cliché of Contemporary Indian Art must be deconstructed in order to reconstruct the meaning in the truest sense.

The following sub-themes – to be explored against the panorama of twenty-first century India – can be of some help to the potential contributor:

  • Changing context of contemporary Indian art – rural and/or urban
  • Changing aesthetics in Indian art – collective and/or individual ventures
  • Relevance of contemporary art practices in society today
  • Local traditions of the folk and the tribal, sustaining in the plastic-present
  • Today’s avant garde art practices – scopes, limits and limitations
  • Design-thinking today – the fine and the applied
  • Contemporary practices and the art-market today – both rural and urban
  • Role of society as instigator, incubator and viewer of contemporary Indian art
  • Reviving the folk-tribal – pros and cons
  • Aesthetic skills, expressions and art-appreciation in digital era


Papers should be between ideally 3000-5000 words. Book reviews should be between 1000-1200 words for single and/or double book reviews. Review articles should be above 2000 words with proper citations.

Style Sheet: APA

Submission: Follow the link to read the Submission Guidelines  at

Submission Deadline: January 31st, 2018

Publication: March, 2018.