Swayam Central

Folk And Minor Art In India

By Prof. Shatarupa Thakurta Roy   |   IIT Kanpur
  • Indian folk artistry is uniquely recognized all over the world not only for richness of aesthetics but also as indicators of age-old habitual belief.
  • They comprise of tacit knowledge that is protected by passing on through generations.
  • Having said that one must also consider the folk artists as creative individuals with adequate freedom of expression to keep the tradition alive and going.
  • In India, the mainstream academic style of art synergized with the principle of vernacular art and culture to boost ‘Nationalistic’ idea as well as ‘Modernism’ since pre-colonial era.
  • The course traces the journey of an array of indigenous art styles from traditional to contemporary and comments on sustainability of culture through preservation, conservation and paradigm shift.

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Students and researchers of Fine Arts, Design, History of Art, Performing Art, Visual Culture, Museology, Archeology, Sociology

PREREQUISITES:          Bachelor Degree in Humanities 

Learners enrolled: 670


Course Status : Ongoing
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 8 weeks
Start Date : 29 Jul 2019
End Date : 20 Sep 2019
Exam Date : 29 Sep 2019
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Level : Postgraduate
    This is an AICTE approved FDP course


    Week 1: Changing definition of Folk and Minor Art
          Timeline and Regions: General Mapping
          Traditional Roots: Elements and Principles
          Timelessness : Primitive Connection
          Evolution in Purpose: Ritualistic to Propagative
          Contemporary Practice
    Week 2: Classification and Connections: Traditional Roots
          Available literary recourses
          Mythical Associations
          Idea of Nationalism in the Context of Folk art
          Idea of Modernism In the context of Folk Art
          Relevance of the Art Practice
    Week 3: Contextualization and Decontextualization
          Concept of Communication for Social Purpose
          Aesthetic Perspective
          Secularity and Religious Plurality
          Ethnographic perspective on the study of Folk Art and Culture
          About the Exponents who brought the culture under the limelight
    Week 4: Contextualization and Decontextualization
          School of Art in Madhubani Painting
          Art as a Feminine Preserve vs the Male painters of Madhubani
          Yamapata, Pytkar and other art practice of Jharkhand Yamapata by the Jadopatias
          Sohari Painters and their Art
          Patachitra of Bengal and Odisha
    Week 5: Continuum of the Practice: Ancient Centres and Contemporary
          Case study 1 Stylistic Variety in Bengal
          Case study 2 Stylistic Variety in Odisha
          Case study 3 Stylistic Variety in Andhra Pradesh
          Exponents and their Contributions
          Hypothesis on Possible Stylistic influences
    Week 6: Characteristics of Contemporary Collection
          Thematic Analysis
          Iconic Analysis
          Semiotic Analysis
          Effect of narratives: Qualitative Evaluation
          Individual Expression in Contemporary Art
    Week 7: Cultural Condition: Colonial and Post colonial Ideologies
          Social Formation during Preindependence
          New Aesthetics: early Prints and Battala Prints
          Artist Block Makers and Hybrid Aesthetics of Urban Folk Art
          Kalighat Painting to Haripura Posters: A synergy
          Jamini Roy: Accommodating Vernacular Idiom in Academic Practice
    Week 8: Coexistence and Collaborations with Mainstream Art
          Strategies for Future and Sustainability: Vision and Revision
          Alternative Context: place of folk art in Contemporary Lifestyle
          Ancient literary sources and canonization: Scholarly Comments
          Need of Paradigm Shift


    Archer William G. and Dr. Mildred Archer, 1934 Collection of India Records Office in London, 1946
    Archer William G, The hill of flutes: Life, love, and poetry in tribal India: a portrait of the Santals, S. Chand Publications, New Delhi, 1974.
    Archer, Mildered, Domestic Arts of Mithila: Painting, Mulk Raj Anand (Editor), Marg: A Magazine of the Arts: Volume XX, No. 1, 1966.
    Bagchi, J., The history and culture of the Palas of Bengal and Bihar c. 750 A.D. - c. 1200 A.D, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi, 1993.
    Bose Nandalal, Vision and Creation, Visva Bharati, 1999.
    Chakraverty Anjan, Indian Miniature Painting, Indian Crest, Lustre Press, Roli Books, 2005.
    Das, Nirmalendu. ‘The early Indian Printmakers: An approach to Social Science, Ethnical and Technical Study’. Lalit Kala Contemporary Issue No. 39, Asstt. Editor (c): Mukhopadhyay, Amit, Lalit Kala Academy, Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi, March’94.
     Doshi Saryu, Masterpieces of Jain Painting, Marg Smithsonian Inst Pr, 1985
    Dutt Gurusaday, The Importance of Folk Art, Folk Art and Its Relation to National Culture, Source: Gurusaday Dutta Museum, Kolkata
    Garimella  Annapurna,  Vernacular, in the contemporary, Catalogue 1 & 2 Part one, Curated by Jackfruit Research and Design, Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, 2010.
    Havell, E. B.,  Indian sculpture and painting. John Murray, London, 1908.
    Havell, E. B. A Handbook of Indian Art. John Murray, London, 1920.
    Jain  Jyotindram, Other Masters: Five Contemporary Folk and Tribal Artists of India, Crafts Museum and The Handicrafts and Handlooms Exports Corporation of India Ltd. (New Delhi - India), 1998.
    Jain Jyotindra, Kalighat Painting: Images from a Changing World, Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad, 1999.
    Joshi, T.: Timeless Traditions Contemporary Forms Art and Crafts of Madhya Pradesh, Wisdom Tree, New Delhi, 2007.
    Kramrisch, Stella, The Vishnudharmottara Part III: A Treatise On Indian Painting and Image-Making. Second Revised and Engarged Edition, Calcutta University Press, Calcutta, 1928.
    Lazaro Desmond Peter, Pichhvai Painting Tradition of Rajasthan: Materials, Methods and Symbolism, Mapin Publishing Gp Pty Ltd, 2006.
    Mitter Partha, The Triumph of Modernism, India’s Artists and Avant-grade 1922-1947, Oxford University Press, 2007
    Ramani Shakuntala, Kalamkari and Traditional Design Heritage of India, Wisdom Tree, 2007.
    Sarkar Nikhil, Calcutta Woodcuts: Aspects of a Popular Art. Page 47, Woodcut Prints of Nineteenth Century Calcutta, Edited by Ashit Paul, Seagull Books, Calcutta, 1983
    Singh Chandramani, Centres of Pahari Painting,  Abhinav Publications, 1981.
    Som Sovon, Shilpa Shiksha O Aupaniveshik Bharat (Art Education in Colonial India-Bengali), Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1998
    Sobhan Som Openti Biscope,  camp, 15,dihi entail road, Calcutta-14, January 1993
    Subramanyan K. G., Living Tradition, Perspectives on Modern Indian Art, Seagull Books Pvt. Limited, Kolkata, 1987.
    Subramanyan K. G., Magic of Making, Essays on Art and Culture, Seagull Books, 2007
    Subhramanyan K. G., Moving Focus: Essays on Indian Art, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, 1978, Reissued by Seagull Books, Calcutta in 2006
    Subhramanyan K. G., ‘The Nandalal Gandhi Rabindranath Connection’, Rhythm of India, The Art of Nandalal Bose, San Diego Museum of Art, California, 2008.
    Szanton David L and Malini Bakshi, Mithila Painting: The evolution of an Art Form, Pinkmango, San Francisco, USA, 2007
    Vatsayan Kapila, The Square and the Circle of the Indian Arts, Abhinav Publications, 1997


    Dr. Shatarupa Thakurta Roy is presently an Assistant Professor jointly with the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and Design Programme, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India. She has developed and taught several courses in Art and Design. Current areas of research and teaching are History of Art, Art Appreciation and Criticism and Design Theory. She is also a practicing artist with several national and international exhibitions to my credit.


    • The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
    • The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
    • Date and Time of Exams: 29 September 2019Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
    • Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
    • The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
    • Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.

    • Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 6 assignments out of the total 8 assignments given in the course. 
    • Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100
    • Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

    • If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.
    • Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Kanpur. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.
    • Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies are being discontinued from July 2019 semester and will not be dispatched