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Centre for South Asian Studies: Events


Political Aesthetics of the Nation

Political Aesthetics of the Nation: Murals and statues in the Indian Parliament
Speaker: Shirin Rai # University of Warwick
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Date and Time
2nd Apr 2015 16:00 - 2nd Apr 2015 17:30
Seminar Room 1, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15a George Square


Murals, statues and inscriptions adorn the Indian parliament – a colonial building that houses India’s democracy.

Why were these murals, portraits and statues commissioned? What did the postcolonial Indian political elites seek to represent through this art work? Why do they occupy the space that they do? And what do they tell us about the contemporary struggles over aesthetics and political meaning that continue to mobilise as well as agitate political actors. The paper explores the relationship between postcolonial democratic practice and the ‘narration of the nation’ (Bhabha, 1990) as political aesthetics and address issues regarding production (as opposed to consumption) of public aesthetics through analysing the role of the state in the commissioning of public art.