Murlidhar Chandora and Prerna Khandelwal

Re-thinking the Contemporary
(Rajasthan and Punjab)

The aim of the workshop ‘Re-thinking the Contemporary’ was to discuss and explore the meaning of tradition with reference to contemporary art practices and to engage  participants in activities, which would broaden their perspective on the values of adaptation and interaction with ‘traditional’ art forms. It was planned specifically for the students of art schools in Rajasthan and Punjab, as these states have rich and versatile traditions of courtly miniature paintings, and folk and tribal art practices. Aiming at building a dialogue between the two, the workshop will addressed the dynamics of Western/Oriental, local/global, pre-modern/post-modern and discuss ideas of ‘cultural borrowing’. While working on the broader idea of adaptation the aim was to introduce a lens to re-look at historical forms and their possible significance in individual practices.

The workshop was split into two parts: The first part of the workshop started from the mentor’s presentations introducing the concept of collective cultural memory and borrowings. The facilitators presented the works of various contemporary artists who are using traditional references, techniques, forms, and metaphors in their contemporary visual language. The participants were encouraged to build a dialogue through analysis of these works. In the second part of the workshop, the students generated works that engaged with these ‘traditional’ references, introduced to them in the first part of the workshop, and formed their subjective responses.