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A Living Archive : Women's Absences and the Painterly (Re)inscriptions of the Gendered Nation

By Miranda Imperial

Abstract

In recent years, within the concept of the archive there has been an ever-increasing notion that points to a repository for classification, cultural production, a locus for keeping the records of history, a paying tribute to memory, whilst, simultaneously, registering as much as what is kept as what is lost. My paper is a work-in-progress, and, as such, an exploration of what I call a "living archive," an archive in the making, where, by recourse to a culturally rich repository of images of Indian women as represented by Indian women artists along the twentieth century, I will address women's invisibility from official history. Generationally arranged, my choice of painters includes Sunayani Devi (1875-1962), Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941) and Nalini Malani (1946-). Women artists in all these cases were privileged and educated, and developed a career in the Fine Arts. They all show a great interest and concern in the role of women within society, and they have portrayed and captured women and women's relations and work with attention. In most cases, they exhibit a feminist or proto-feminist awareness. From the visual format of the canvas both in historical perspective and at present, I will attempt to discuss how their work and their valuable repository of images is certainly evidence of significant historical and cultural change.En los últimos años ha ganado preponderancia la idea del archivo como depósito para la clasificación y la producción cultural, así como espacio para los registros históricos, rindiendo tributo a la memoria colectiva y registrando tanto lo conservado como lo que se ha perdido. Este artículo es work-in-progress centrado en explorar lo que llamo un «archivo viviente» en construcción, mediante el cual, aprovechando la riqueza del repositorio en representaciones de mujeres de la India pintadas por artistas indias del siglo XX, abordaré la invisibilidad de la mujer en la historia oficial. Ordenadas cronológicamente, incluyo a pintoras como Sunayani Devi (1875-1962), Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941) y Nalini Malani (1946). Todas estas pintoras, privilegiadas y cultas, iniciaron una carrera artística en la que demostraron gran interés y preocupación por el papel de la mujer en la sociedad, captando con atención y a menudo desde una conciencia feminista o protofeminista, tanto la figura de la mujer como sus relaciones y su trabajo. Tomando el lienzo como soporte, y con una perspectiva tanto histórica como actual, abordaré cómo su obra y su valioso legado de imágenes evidencian un significativo cambio a nivel histórico y cultural

Topics: Archive, Representation, Painting, Indian women painters, Sunayani Devi, Amrita Sher-Gil, Nalini Malani, Indian nation, Archivo, Representación, Pintura, Pintoras de la India, Nación india
Publisher: 'Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona'
Year: 2019
DOI identifier: 10.5565/rev/indialogs.127
OAI identifier: oai:ddd.uab.cat:203866

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