An exhibition on Indian popular culture shows how a common visual style brought India together
... Indian Popular Visual Culture: The Conquest of the World as Picture, an exhibition of visuals from everyday Indian life in the 19th and 20th centuries. There are maharajas on matchboxes, freedom fighters on product labels, exotic ladies on playing cards, early art prints blending myth and politics, film and theatre posters and other everyday art.
Jain’s exhibition showed in Berlin in 2003, and at the NGMA in Delhi and Mumbai in 2004. So what’s happened in 14 years? “The analysis and critical understanding of popular visual culture has undergone an enormous transformation,” says Jain. We produce and access images differently in the selfie-ready, Instagram-filtered digital age. New archives, websites and courses have emerged for those looking to dig deeper.
To keep you up to speed is the new issue of Marg magazine, which focuses on The Story of Early Indian Advertising. Its new essays, Jain hopes, offer new perspectives on the exhibits. “A whole section in the exhibition is dedicated to advertising imagery of the 19th and early 20th century,” Jain says.