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Narratives for Indian Modernity: The Aesthetic of Brij Mohan Anand

 
Aditi Anand (Author) Grant Pooke (Author) Alka Pande (Foroward)
Synopsis

A trenchant critic of both British imperialism and Indian militarism, Brij Mohan Anand’s highly politicised aesthetic tracked India’s emergence from Partition, Independence and its journey through the technological challenges of the Cold War and the complex modernity of the later twentieth century. B.M. Anand (1928-1986), an accomplished and principally self-taught artist, fashioned an exceptional range of work from scratchboards, sketches, genre scenes, pastoral images and starkly modernist figure compositions to a series of late, apocalyptic landscapes. His expansive creativity and sharp eye for visual innovation extended into graphics-based design, educational and illustration work which was routinely commissioned and supported by some of India’s leading cultural and news organisations. Anand’s life and aesthetic intersected with some of the foundational events which defined and shaped modern Indian consciousness. From the bitter, family legacy of the Amritsar massacre, through to the trauma of Partition and the post-Independence realpolitik of Congress and Communist Party mandates, he recognised the self-deception and vanity of power and the complicity of the elites through which it was exercised. Anand’s legacy registers a singular consciousness; a profoundly human belief in a socially redemptive aesthetic and the agency of ordinary men and women to realise and to fashion their own futures within a contested modernity. Narratives for Indian Modernity follows the rediscovery and painstaking restoration of much of Anand’s oeuvre, the location of previously overlooked archival and family records and interviews with surviving peers and friends. In doing so, it offers a critical perspective on an outsider artist and maverick who eschewed the attractions and blandishments of a commercial or overseas career, but who nevertheless kept witness to India’s rebirth as a sovereign nation and ultimately, its emergence as a regional superpower.

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About the author

Alka Pande

Dr. Alka Pande has specialized in the history of art and in critical art theory. She was Head of the Department of Fine Arts in Panjab University, Chandigarh. Her published works include From Mustard Fields to Disco Lights, a book that studied the folk music and performers of Punjab, and Indian Erotica, a serious purview of a genre often trivialized in art studies. Presently an art consultant with India Habitat Centre, Delhi, and curator of their Visual Arts Gallery, Dr. Pande also works as an independent curator and has curated a number of important exhibitions in India and abroad. She was born in Calcutta, but later acquired her academic experience from the universities of London, Delhi, Mumbai, and Chandigarh. Dr. Pande combines her study of the arts with an interest in music and dance, yoga and cooking. She lives in New Delhi with her husband and daughter.

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Bibliographic information

Title Narratives for Indian Modernity: The Aesthetic of Brij Mohan Anand
Format Hardcover
Date published: 12.08.2016
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 9789351772989
length xxiii+167p., Illustrations; Colour; 30cm.
Subjects Biography