An Untouchable Reaches Out: The Dalit Art of Savi Savarkar

Opening Reception: November 2, 5-7pm

An Untouchable Reaches Out: The Dalit Art of Savi Savarkar

Tuesday, November 2 - Tuesday, November 23

   

In this exhibition, curator and art historian Gary Tartakov introduces Indian artist Savi Savarkar to our community in a thoughtfully organized exhibition. In addition to highlighting Savarkar's prowess, the exhibition demonstrates Tartakov's skill, insight, and sensitivity as a longstanding scholar of Indian art. Savi Savarkar's art is most remarkable for the expression of his social situation in South Asian culture as a Dalit, and for the immediacy, depth and power with which he expresses the meaning of that situation to us. In India, a nation with over a billion people, Dalits -the people usually known in the United States by their Brahmanical caste title as "untouchables"- make up seventeen per cent of the population and occupy a social and economic place at the bottom of the famous caste system, comparable to the situation of African Americans in the United States. Savarkar is the rare case of a gallery artist with a national and international reputation built upon role of being a Dalit artist, and a critique of the caste system. Viewing his art, even in the United States, brings up difficult and painful questions of intercultural and international communication and understanding. While Savarkar's art reveals the sophistication and strength of contemporary India's elite gallery culture, it also dwells at length in polemic confrontation with one of the greatest problems of contemporary Indian society. For all of us there is the challenge of looking not only through sensitive eyes at what may be unfamiliar, but of looking with nuanced minds. As India's most prominent Dalit artist, he has exhibited in the international gallery scene in New Delhi, Mumbai and around India, is represented in the National Gallery of Modern Art and The Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, and has appeared at the Frankfort Book fair and in exhibitions and collections in Mexico, Germany, Sweden and the United States. For more information about the artist, contact Gary Tartakov: tart@iastate.edu

 



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