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Abstract

In his article "Aesthetics, Nationalism, and the Image of Woman in Modern Indian Art" Kedar Vishwanathan discusses how developments in visual culture impacted India's configuration as nation. Between 1880-1945 in Bombay (Mumbai) and Calcutta (Kolkata) a burgeoning visual culture developed in service of anti-colonial nationalism. Used as a method to imagine a nation free of colonial rule, in particular images of women proliferated in private and public spaces. Crucial to this development was the reformulations of modernity based on an ambivalent combination of British and Indian vernacular art. Vishwanathan focuses on how the female was appropriated for the cause of imagining an Indian nation and he examines the influence of political movements such as the Raja Ravi Varma Printing Press, The Calcutta Art Studio, and the Bengali neo-traditionalists. Further, he inquires into the connections and relationship between colonial administration and the Indian populace prior to the onset of elite anti-colonial nationalism in order to understand Indian modernity and the shift in vernacular and visual aesthetics.

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