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Eyes Re-Cast: Recent Works of Savi Sawarkar

Parul Dave Mukherji (Author)
Synopsis Most Political critiques of the dominant order rely heavily on caricatures. This was my first reaction to Savi Sawarkar's works which I saw as images projected on the walls at a conference on Art and Activism held in the department of Art History in Baroda in 2002. The question that I had asked the paper presenter, Y S Alone, was why did the artist need to confront one set of which portrays the dalit as equally typecast into as a brutalized entity. Now in retrospect, standing in front of Savi's works, the question raised by me seemed naïve. It is premised on an assumption that caricatures deliberately distort the real to dramatize the social injustice, to make visible the diabolical workings of power and to pluck out the mask of folly to reveal the truth underneath. Savi portrays the victim as stereotypically as the oppressor. One is the figure while the other becomes the ground and their interchangeability as interlocking shapes spell out centuries of mutual dependency of the exploiter and the exploited. He derives his language of protest from a poetics of a critique of conventional language. At times he wields his brush like a weapon and at times caresses the surface with a delicacy of a sensual touch. His style of painting unfolds between these two extremes of draughtsman ship. From almost treating the canvas as a wall where paint marks seem scribbled, scratched and scattered in a graffiti mode to touching the surface delicately to evoke sensuality of the body, Savi defies being categorized as a political painter whose central agenda deals with caste alone. His paintings traverse ambivalently between politics and poetics -the politics of exposure of caste dynamics in contemporary India and poetics -the politics of exposure of caste dynamics in contemporary India and poetics of line, of form and of color.
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About the author

Parul Dave Mukherji

The author received her B.A. in the History of At from Kala Bhavana, Vishwabharati University, Santiniketan and took her M.A. in the Department of Art History & Aesthetics at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M S University, Baroda. She then enrolled herself as an M. Phil student at the Faculty or Oriental Studies, Oxford University to work on “The Theory of imitation (anukriti) in Early Indian art” with Prof. B K Matilal. Later, for her doctoral dissertation, she took up the task of editing the Citrasutra of the Visundharmottara Purana with Prof. Alexis Sanderson. Grants from the Charles Wallace, the British Council, the Al Falak Foundation and the Radha Krishnan Memorial Bequest funded her doctoral research. Dr. Dave Mukherji is currently Reader of Art History & Aesthetics at the Faculty of fine Arts, M S University, Baroda. She has lectured in India and Europe and published a range of articles on historiography of Art History and the dialectics of nationalism and ‘naturalism’ in the study of Indian art. At present, her research focuses on the question of caste and gender in the study of early treatises of Indian art.

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Bibliographic information

Title Eyes Re-Cast: Recent Works of Savi Sawarkar
Format Softcover
Date published: 27.11.2008
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Lalit Kala Akademi
Language: English
length 110p., Plates; References; 29cm.