© 2019

Intersections of Contemporary Art, Anthropology and Art History in South Asia

Decoding Visual Worlds

  • Sasanka Perera
  • Dev Nath Pathak

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Contours of Quest: Arts at Crossroad

  3. Political and Aesthetic: Explorations of Intersections

  4. Art for Public: Individual, Institutions, and Issues

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 297-302

About this book


Taking South Asia as its focus, this wide-ranging collection probes the general reluctance of the cultural anthropology to engage with contemporary visual art and artists, including painting, sculpture, performance art and installation. Through case studies engaged equally in anthropology and visual studies, contributors examine art and artistic production in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal to bring the social and political complexities of artistic practice to the fore. Demonstrating the potential of the visual as a means to understand a society, its values, and its politics, this volume ranges across discourses of anthropology, sociology, biography, memory, art history, and contemporary practices of visual art. Ultimately, Intersections of Contemporary Art, Anthropology and Art History in South Asia simultaneously expands and challenges the disciplinary foci of two fields: it demonstrates to art criticism and art history the necessity of anthropological and sociological methodologies and theories, while at the same time challenging the “iconophobia” of social sciences.


anthropology of art visual anthropology visual sociology art history art and politics art and society South Asian art South Asian culture cultural politics cultural identity collective identity

Editors and affiliations

  • Sasanka Perera
    • 1
  • Dev Nath Pathak
    • 2
  1. 1.South Asian UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.South Asian UniversityNew DelhiIndia

About the editors

Sasanka Perera is Professor of Sociology at South Asian University, New Delhi, India. He is the author of, among other publications, Artists Remember; Artists Narrate:  Memory and Representation inn Contemporary Sri Lankan Visual Arts (2011), Violence and The Burden of Memory: Remembrance and Erasure in Sinhala Consciousness (2015) and Warzone Tourism in Sri Lanka: Tales from Darker Places in Paradise (2016).

Dev Nath Pathak is Assistant Professor of Sociology at South Asian University, New Delhi, India. He is the author of Living and Dying: Meanings in Maithili Folklore (2018), the editor of Another South Asia! (2017), the co-editor, with Sasanka Perera, of Culture and Politics in South Asia: Performative Communication (2017) and he also co-edited, with Ravi Kumar and Sasanka Perera, Sociology and Social Anthropology in South Asia: Histories and Practices (2018).

Bibliographic information