Colour as both a concept, and as practices with coloured materials, has re-materialized in recent case studies. This panel invites contributions from scholars whose research deals primarily with colour as integral to an anthropology of art - whether in contemporary or historical modes.
Although colours are central to our cultural and social interactions with the world, colour is a topic often pushed to the periphery of anthropological study, including the anthropology of art. Thinking of colour as cultural immediately attaches it to human society and so to particular aesthetics regimes, to politics and the experiences of colonialism. Over recent years some scholars of anthropology and linguistics have argued that the concept of colour is not a universal category at all but a culturally constructed one (e.g. Saunders 1999; Wierzbicka 2008; Young 2011) which arguably appears in many societies only after European colonial contact. Colour has been described as both a concept and a category, when it tends to be in the singular, and a quality, when it becomes 'colours' in the plural (Batchelor 2001). Coloured materials, have re-materialized in recent case studies but more studies are needed to understand what 'colour' can be and to understand its/their material capacities, and the role they play in culture and society. This panel invites contributions from scholars whose research deals primarily with coloured materials and/or colour concepts as integral to an anthropology of art - whether in contemporary or historical modes. It particularly encourages papers discussing what it is colours do in a specific cultural and social context. This research might address some of the above considerations and include studies of the various materialities of colour in photographs, film and digital media as well as in artefacts, paintings, gardens etc.