[Reader-list] Manly Matters: Fellows 2017-2018
tasveerghar at gmail.com
Sat Mar 11 22:28:54 CST 2017
Representations of Maleness in South Asian Popular Visual Practice
We are delighted to introduce the twelve finalists and the projects
selected for Tasveer Ghar’s newest venture. You can read more about the
project as a whole at this link (http://tasveerghar.net/cmsdesk/essay/133/
). Our Fellows’ image essays will be posted over the course of the next
two years. We also expect over the course of the next couple years to
announce several image galleries as well as the start of a visual archive
on images of masculinity in South Asian visual culture. We thank you for
your continued interest in Tasveer Ghar.
Avash Bhandari and Dannah Dennis
"Remembering and Remaking the Founder: A Visual History of Images of
Prithvi Narayan Shah"
In this project, we aim at tracing the historical evolution of the
iconography of Prithvi Narayan Shah, the king from Gorkha who founded the
modern state of Nepal in 1768. We show how among the various images of Shah
drawn in different styles in different historical periods, a painting by
Amar Chitrakar came to acquire hegemonic status as the most recognized and
reprinted image of the king after the 1960s, becoming a trope for Nepali
national unity under the tutelage of the Shah monarch. We also demonstrate
how this image is deployed for a variety of divergent political ends in
Nepal’s current moment of constitutional crisis.
"Precarious Lives: Shifting Representations of Muslim Masculinities"
Since the 1990s, we have been increasingly surrounded by images/
photographs of Muslim vulnerability—criminalized, abject, emasculated,
terrified. The Muslim invader, the grand adversary of earlier cultural
nationalist narratives is replaced by a more ordinary Muslim male—living
with the threat of violence as the ‘non-belonger,’ the potential terrorist
or the love jihadi. I explore a range of sources including illustrative
practices of popular narratives such as the Amar Chitra Katha and
contemporary photographic conventions/practices from journalistic sources
in order to engage with the shifting address and contexts of contemporary
Muslim images in India.
"Politics of Posture and Sartorial Sagacity: A Critique of Swami
This paper will scrutinize Vivekananda’s sartorial adeptness, postural
mimesis and skillful utilization of photography to amplify his saintly
persona. An inquiry will be initiated to discover the dynamics of
photography involved in the making of an icon or saint.
"‘The Next King of Action:' The Visual Construction of Indian Masculinity
This project studies the changing representations of Indian masculinity as
depicted in the film magazine Stardust. Over the past three decades, Indian
male bodies have changed drastically, adopting the overtly muscular,
hairless, and paler ideal typically seen in Western countries. The
behavioral characteristics of Western masculinities have translated as
well—Indian men now take on a consumerist role and must compete with one
another for success. While this indicates a class of Indian women with
purchasing power, as they are able to buy these sexualized images, the
effects of this ideal have not been thoroughly studied.
"The ‘Supreme’ Guru: Politics of Representation in Iconographies of Saint
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan"
This project attempts to critically study the aesthetics and politics of
representations of Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, a contemporary
spiritual guru, the head of Dera Sacha Sauda, located at Sirsa on the
Punjab-Haryana border. The essay will focus on various sartorial
experimentations that form the self-image of Dera guru which connects with
the desire to expand; to include and modify styles of attires from
different cultural traditions without limiting at a particular iconographic
form. I attempt to theorise as well the politics and aesthetics of Dera
guru’s various avatars through looking at printed material such as studio
photographs, DVDs, magazines, film posters and other forms of visual
"Visual Pleasure: Shifting Trends of Masculinity on Popular Transport"
Local Pakistani transport, particularly Punjabi trucks and auto rickshaws,
are now showing visually striking popular figures of males that are often
painted on the rare of these transports. They represent a particular style
of masculinity and evoke not only a visual pleasure but they also have
power as signifiers to be readily understood. The representation of popular
visuals of males reveal the popularity of male-dominated society.
Figurative representations produced by secular and popular practitioners of
art, the commercial producers of figures especially male body forms,
produced by cinema board painters are the highlights of urban forks
culture. They provide explicit and systematic messages comprehensible to
the majority of onlookers and for them they are the transport of delight.
"‘Health and Strength’? Picturing the Physical Culture Consumer in
Colonial Western India"
This essay researches and documents representations of male bodies in
vernacular sports magazines in early twentieth century western India. It
will comment on the popularization of visual consumption, even as the
male body was exhibited in a range of newer ways, and photographs of
individual athletes emerged as commodities in and of themselves. This
history of male physique photography, and that of the circulation of the
images of ‘beautiful and powerful’ sporting bodies, it is suggested, will
help develop a renewed understanding of the links between masculinity and
muscularity in popular culture.
"Lionel Wendt’s Erotic Nationalism"
This project examines Lionel Wendt's photographic corpus and its
relationship to the nascent nationalism of its context in 1930s-40s Sri
Lanka. I discuss Wendt's representation of his subjects, filtered through
differences of wealth, race, education, and social context, and its
relationship to the exotic, the erotic, and the institutions of the state.
Runa Chakraborty and Sarunas Paunksnis
"Masculine Anxiety in the Films of Anurag Kashyap"
The essay interrogates the visual representations of urban male anxiety in
the context of post-liberalization India by analyzing three films by Anurag
Kashyap: No Smoking (2007), Ugly (2013), and Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016). It
focuses on the tension in the existing gender relations and attempts to
reappraise question of women’s empowerment vis-à-vis the emerging notion of
Shabnam Naher and Mossabbar Hossain
"Male Beautification and the Beauty Salon: Perceptions of Masculinity among
Men in Dhaka, Bangladesh"
This research project will explore the changing ideologies about male
beautification and the construction of masculinity against the dominant
gender ideology. We choose Mirpur region, Dhaka metropolitan city as our
field site. We will use observation and visual content analysis method for
data collection, observe and conduct interviews with both salon staff and
customers, and analyze available style catalog, media advertisement and
other achievable visual documents from beauty salons.
"Men of the Indian Constitution: Idolised Bodies, Idealised Bodies"
This visual essay will relate two sets of images by investigating the
tropes of nationalist masculinity. The first set consists of the idealised
male bodies of gods, super humans and humans illustrated in the Indian
Constitution. The second set includes idolised depictions of Ambedkar,
Nehru, Azad & Patel (members of the assembly that authored the Indian
Constitution) in popular visual culture.
"Caste Assertion and the Rise of Tamil Warriors: The Competitive Politics
of Visibility and Masculinity in 21st Century Tamil Nadu"
This essay is an exploration of new public depictions of fallen heroes that
demonstrate and energize the formation of politically-defined caste
conglomerations (often called "mega-castes"). Arising over the course of
the past thirty to forty years, due in part to the unprecedented
technologies of communication that bring formerly distant communities
together, the narratives surrounding such heroes reflect dreams of
sovereignty and power that are expressed in the idiom of hyper-masculine
excess drawn from the annals of Dravidianist ethnonationalism. Intensifying
in their recursive competition, caste conglomerations sometimes instantiate
the assertions otherwise made by their caste heroes in moments of violent
inter-caste conflict on the ground.
See the vision statement of this project:
>From the Tasveerghar team
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