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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Sonal Khullar's Book Probes Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India

Sonal Khullar in office, courtesy Doug ManelskiSonal Khullar (Art History) has a new book, Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990 (University of California Press). From the publisher:

Drawing on Edward Said’s notion of “affiliation” as a critical and cultural imperative against empire and nation-state, Worldly Affiliations traces the emergence of a national art world in twentieth-century India and emphasizes its cosmopolitan ambitions and orientations. Sonal Khullar focuses on four major Indian artists—Sher-Gil, Maqbool Fida Husain, K. G. Subramanyan, and Bhupen Khakhar—situating their careers within national and global histories of modernism and modernity. Through a close analysis of original artwork, archival materials, artists’ writing, and period criticism, Khullar provides a vivid historical account of the state and stakes of artistic practice in India from the late colonial through postcolonial periods ... This richly illustrated study juxtaposes little-known, rarely seen, or previously unpublished works of modern and contemporary art with historical works, popular or mass-reproduced images, and documentary photographs.

Sonal's project builds on research she developed as a Society of Scholars fellow in 2011-12 as well as through New Geographies in Feminist Art, a conference she co-organized with Sasha Welland (Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies) in 2012 that examined the role of women artists, feminism, and visual representations of gender and sexuality in contemporary Asian art. 

Congratulations, Sonal!