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Accepted Paper:

Marginalised aesthetics brought to the fore: Dalit art in contemporary transnational art circuits  
Caroline Lillelund

Paper short abstract:

Pointing to the simultaneous standardisation and diversification of aesthetic forms in the global contemporary art world, this paper explores how the transnational circulation of artworks by Indian Dalit artists both challenges and affirms social and aesthetic hierarchies, locally and globally.

Paper long abstract:

Within the past 6 to 8 years, a growing number of contemporary Indian artists hailing from the marginalised castes known as Dalits have exhibited their works in international art biennials, museums and fairs alongside artworks by some of the world's most coveted artists. Incorporating aesthetic forms hitherto foreign to the sleek, polished contemporary art world, these works may be seen to challenge local caste hierarchies as well as global/postcolonial hierarchies by subverting established aesthetic norms and forms. However, the curatorial embrace of 'Dalit art' (Achar 2019) internationally may come with the price of aesthetic cooptation and coalescence. Using examples from recent exhibitions in art fairs and biennials, this paper explores the aesthetic and political agency of 'Dalit art' in a global field, which is largely governed by financial and political interests. Do the artworks under scrutiny retain their aesthetic fervour and distinctiveness once they are transplanted into new settings and contexts? And if so, what is their transformative potential then?

Panel P165a
Engaging with aesthetic forms: Approaching the sociopolitical embedding and agency of arts [AntArt network]
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -