Prof. Vinay Lal
in conversation with Prof. Prabodh Parikh
There is but no question that Mohandas Gandhi remains, more than six decades after his assassination, the most iconic figure of modern India. A distinct and complex iconography began to develop around his figure in his own lifetime. He was one of the most widely photographed men of his time; an entire industry of nationalist prints extolled his life; and statues of his abound throughout India and, increasingly, the rest of the world. Gandhi has been a blessing to cartoonists; and nearly every major Indian artist of consequence, from M. F. Husain and Ramkinkar Baij to Ghulam Muhammad Sheikh and Atul Dodiya, over the course of the last half-century has engaged with Gandhi in his or her work. In this talk, Prof. Vinay Lal, in conversation with Prof. Prabodh Parikh, will examine the life and work of Gandhi in the light of various forms of visual representation and suggest what kind of insights one might be able to derive from a study of these images. After offering an overview of the visual practices that have informed representations of Gandhi, the talk will move in the second half to a more extended analysis of ‘the sartorial Gandhi’, offers some considerations on the dressed and undressed Gandhi, the idea of nakedness, and so on. The images, around 100 of which will be shown, are drawn from the Prof Vinay Lal’s unique digital archive of some 10000 images, including 4,000 distinct images –– cartoons, paintings, drawings, sketches, public statuary, film stills, graffiti, nationalist prints, photographs, advertisements, posters, and much else –– drawn from India, Europe, the United States, indeed from nearly all over the world.
About Prof. Vinay Lal
About Prof. Prabodh Parikh
Prabodh Parikh is a Gujarati poet, short fiction writer, film curator and visual artist. He recently retired as the Head of the Department of Philosophy at Mithibai College, Mumbai. His book of poems, Kaunsman (Between Parentheses/In Brackets), published in 1993, is a significant collection in Gujarati literature, representing thirty years of work in poetry. It won him several awards, including the Best Poetry Collection of 1993-94 (Gujarat Sahitya Akademi) and the G.F. Saraf Award for Best Gujarati Book in 1992-95. He is also the author of a volume of short fiction and a book of correspondence which comprises a selection of letters he wrote to Gujarati scholar, Harivallabh Bhayani. Another collection of poems entitled Mitro is due for publication by December 2006. Kauns Bahar, a book of essays on philosophy and Gujarati literature, is also due for publication. His poetry and fiction has been translated into Bengali, English, Hindi, Marathi, and Punjabi and published in various literary journals.
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