Tasveer Ghar Fellowships (10 May)

From: Tasveer Ghar

Tasveer Ghar Fellowships 2008: Call for Proposals
"Kaleidoscopic Sites and Sights: The Printed Visual Culture/s of Religious Pluralism"
Last Date of Submission: May 10, 2008

We are pleased to invite proposals for our second short-term
fellowships involving the collection and documentation of unique forms
of popular visual arts of India with a focus on religious pluralism
and sacred sites in India. The estimated duration of the fellowship is
6 months, starting July 2008. At the end of the fellowship period,
collected specimens will be digitized and virtually exhibited along
with an accompanying image essay on the website of Tasveer Ghar.
Prospective applicants can take a look at the website for examples of
image essays that have already been posted.

The theme for 2008: Kaleidoscopic Sites and Sights, The Printed Visual
Cultures of Religious Pluralism

What does the visual culture of modern India's much-vaunted religious
diversity look like? This is the critical question that we pose to
prospective applicants to the 2008 Tasveerghar Fellowships. Over the
millennia, numerous religious traditions, practices and institutions
have arrived, evolved, and come to co-exist, as well as to enter into
conflict in the subcontinent. Many studies have documented the verbal
bases as well as products of religious pluralism, syncretism and
co-habitation. Yet, we know very little about the visual consequences
of the coming together and co-development of faiths and belief systems
that have ranged from the iconographic and the aniconic to the
iconoclastic. How have these been produced and sustained through the
printed products of mechanical reproduction such as religious posters,
street hoardings, calendars, pilgrimage paraphernalia and other
printed ephemera? How are shared visual idioms and vocabularies
developed through the coming together of faiths around sacred shrines
and pilgrimages, personages and public events? How are these images
incorporated and looked upon in the everyday lives of people, and
imbued with meaning by diverse groups? Most importantly, what role
does the production, circulation and consumption of such visual
'ephemera' play in underwriting a culture of religious pluralism that
has survived and transformed into multiple shapes and domains over the
millennia, e.g. by means of new technologies or migration?

Arguably, religious pluralism has cleared the ground for the creation
of a culture of secularism in India, and also acts as a break on the
more egregious consequences of religious orthodoxy, political
extremism and cultural (trans)nationalism. How do the visual cultures
of religious pluralism inform the visual practices of secularism, and
do they offer a critique of the visual culture of religious
fundamentalism? How might these visual ephemera challenge and expand
our understandings of religious interchange and conflict? In what ways
and for what reasons has the notion of pluralism undergone
redefinition? These are some of the questions to which we seek answers
through collections of images and analyses in the form of visual

We would like our Fellows to generate ethnographies of images, explore
new patterns and chains of seeing and being displayed. By
ethnographies, what we mean is a "thick description" for each
collected image: not just contexts of production, but of circulation,
usage, and so on; an account of how each image might fit into a
particular "inter-ocular" universe. We encourage our contributors to
be as creative and imaginative as the popular visual cultures of South
Asia have been.

Before you write your proposal, please read our Frequently Asked
Questions to get some practical tips on applying for this fellowship,
such as who is eligible to apply, what does the fellowship provide,
what should your proposal contain, and so on. It would also help to
look at some of the already posted visual essays on the website based
on the last year's fellowship work.

See details: http://tasveerghar.net/call.html
Frequently Asked Questions: http://tasveerghar.net/faqs.html
Download the details in MS Word format:
Tasveer Ghar's past virtual galleries: http://tasveerghar.net/gallery.html

Also see our recent Visual Essay:
Remediation: Iconic Images and Everyday Spaces - 'Female Film Stars'
in Print Media: by Madhuja Mukherji

Looking forward to receive your response and ideas.

Christiane Brosius
Manishita Dass
Sumathi Ramaswamy
Yousuf Saeed