Nancy Adajania (Bombay)

How not to be a footnote to western art history

In this keynote address, Adajania provided a glimpse into the research process and methodologies in her book The Thirteenth Place: Positionality as Critique in the Art of Navjot Altaf. Trained in political science, cinema, and art history, Adajania scrutinizes all inherited knowledge to urgently address that, which has been marginalized, forgotten or misremembered. She has re-calibrated histories of Marxism, feminism and collaborative art by melding the abstractions of conventional art history with a situated politics of culture approach. In the broader context of contemporary Indian art, her critical investigations of lost, misremembered, or neglected histories also focus on producing regionally inflected vocabularies and histories that do not appear as mere footnotes to western art history.

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Nancy Adajania’s FIELD MEETING participation is supported by DAG Modern.

Nancy Adajania, How Not to be a Footnote to Western Art History, 2017. Lecture documentation FIELD MEETING Take 5: Thinking Project, November 15th at SVA Theatre.


Nancy Adajania is a cultural theorist and curator based in Bombay. She has written consistently on the practices of four generations of Indian women artists, as well as extending the field of art history by developing regional histories of Marxism, feminism, and collaborative art practice in the context of postcolonial Indian art. Adajania was Joint Artistic Director of the 9th Gwangju Biennale (2012). In 2013 and 2014, she taught the curatorial practice course at the Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts. She recently edited ‘Some things that only art can do: A Lexicon of Affective Knowledge’ (Aroop, Raza Foundation, 2017).

Navjot Altaf, ‘Across the Crossing’, painted wood, 44_x17_x18_, from the series ‘Images Redrawn’, 1996, Courtesy of Nancy Adajania

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