Courses » Folk and Minor Art in India

Folk and Minor Art in India


  • Indian folk artistry is uniquely recognized all over the world not only for richness of aesthetics but also as indicators of age-old habitual belief.
  • They comprise of tacit knowledge that is protected by passing on through generations.
  • Having said that one must also consider the folk artists as creative individuals with adequate freedom of expression to keep the tradition alive and going.
  • In India, the mainstream academic style of art synergized with the principle of vernacular art and culture to boost ‘Nationalistic’ idea as well as ‘Modernism’ since pre-colonial era.
  • The course traces the journey of an array of indigenous art styles from traditional to contemporary and comments on sustainability of culture through preservation, conservation and paradigm shift.


Students and researchers of Fine Arts, Design, History of Art, Performing Art, Visual Culture, Museology, Archeology, Sociology.


Bachelor Degree in Humanities 


373 students have enrolled already!!


Dr. Shatarupa Thakurta Roy is presently an assistant professor jointly with the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and Design Programme, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India. She has developed and taught several courses in Art and Design. Current areas of research and teaching are History of Art, Art Appreciation and Criticism and Design Theory. She is also a practicing artist with several national and international exhibitions to my credit.

Week 1:
Changing definition of Folk and Minor Art 
Timeline and Regions: General Mapping
Traditional Roots: Elements and Principles
Timelessness : Primitive Connection
Evolution in Purpose: Ritualistic to Propagative 
Contemporary Practice

Week 2:
Classification and Connections: Traditional Roots
Available literary recourses
Mythical Associations
Idea of Nationalism in the Context of Folk art
Idea of Modernism In the context of Folk Art
Relevance of the Art Practice

Week 3:
Contextualization and Decontextualization
Concept of Communication for Social Purpose
Aesthetic Perspective 
Secularity and Religious Plurality
Ethnographic perspective on the study of Folk Art and Culture
About the Exponents who brought the culture under the limelight

Week 4:
Contextualization and Decontextualization
School of Art in Madhubani Painting
Art as a Feminine Preserve vs the Male painters of Madhubani
Yamapata, Pytkar and other art practice of Jharkhand Yamapata by the Jadopatias
Sohari Painters and their Art
Patachitra of Bengal and Odisha

Week 5:
Continuum of the Practice: Ancient Centres and Contemporary 
Case study 1 Stylistic Variety in Bengal
Case study 2 Stylistic Variety in Odisha
Case study 3 Stylistic Variety in Andhra Pradesh
Exponents and their Contributions
Hypothesis on Possible Stylistic influences

Week 6:
Characteristics of Contemporary Collection 
Thematic Analysis 
Iconic Analysis
Semiotic Analysis
Effect of narratives: Qualitative Evaluation
Individual Expression in Contemporary Art

Week 7:
Cultural Condition: Colonial and Post colonial Ideologies 
Social Formation during Preindependence
New Aesthetics: early Prints and Battala Prints 
Artist Block Makers and Hybrid Aesthetics of Urban Folk Art
Kalighat Painting to Haripura Posters: A synergy 
Jamini Roy: Accommodating Vernacular Idiom in Academic Practice 

Week 8: 
Coexistence and Collaborations with Mainstream Art 
Strategies for Future and Sustainability: Vision and Revision
Alternative Context: place of folk art in Contemporary Lifestyle 
Ancient literary sources and canonization: Scholarly Comments 
Need of Paradigm Shift


Archer William G. and Dr. Mildred Archer, 1934 Collection of India Records Office in London, 1946 
Archer William G, The hill of flutes: Life, love, and poetry in tribal India: a portrait of the Santals, S. Chand Publications, New Delhi, 1974. 

Archer, Mildered, Domestic Arts of Mithila: Painting, Mulk Raj Anand (Editor), Marg: A Magazine of the Arts: Volume XX, No. 1, 1966. 

Bagchi, J., The history and culture of the Palas of Bengal and Bihar c. 750 A.D. - c. 1200 A.D, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi, 1993.

Bose Nandalal, Vision and Creation, Visva Bharati, 1999. 
Chakraverty Anjan, Indian Miniature Painting, Indian Crest, Lustre Press, Roli Books, 2005.
Das, Nirmalendu. ‘The early Indian Printmakers: An approach to Social Science, Ethnical and Technical Study’. Lalit Kala Contemporary Issue No. 39, Asstt. Editor (c): Mukhopadhyay, Amit, Lalit Kala Academy, Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi, March’94.
 Doshi Saryu, Masterpieces of Jain Painting, Marg Smithsonian Inst Pr, 1985
Dutt Gurusaday, The Importance of Folk Art, Folk Art and Its Relation to National Culture, Source: Gurusaday Dutta Museum, Kolkata 
Garimella  Annapurna,  Vernacular, in the contemporary, Catalogue 1 & 2 Part one, Curated by Jackfruit Research and Design, Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, 2010.
Havell, E. B.,  Indian sculpture and painting. John Murray, London, 1908.
Havell, E. B. A Handbook of Indian Art. John Murray, London, 1920.
Jain  Jyotindram, Other Masters: Five Contemporary Folk and Tribal Artists of India, Crafts Museum and The Handicrafts and Handlooms Exports Corporation of India Ltd. (New Delhi - India), 1998. 

Jain Jyotindra, Kalighat Painting: Images from a Changing World, Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad, 1999.

Joshi, T.: Timeless Traditions Contemporary Forms Art and Crafts of Madhya Pradesh, Wisdom Tree, New Delhi, 2007.
Kramrisch, Stella, The Vishnudharmottara Part III: A Treatise On Indian Painting and Image-Making. Second Revised and Engarged Edition, Calcutta University Press, Calcutta, 1928.
Lazaro Desmond Peter, Pichhvai Painting Tradition of Rajasthan: Materials, Methods and Symbolism, Mapin Publishing Gp Pty Ltd, 2006.
Mitter Partha, The Triumph of Modernism, India’s Artists and Avant-grade 1922-1947, Oxford University Press, 2007
Ramani Shakuntala, Kalamkari and Traditional Design Heritage of India, Wisdom Tree, 2007.
Sarkar Nikhil, Calcutta Woodcuts: Aspects of a Popular Art. Page 47, Woodcut Prints of Nineteenth Century Calcutta, Edited by Ashit Paul, Seagull Books, Calcutta, 1983
Singh Chandramani, Centres of Pahari Painting,  Abhinav Publications, 1981.
Som Sovon, Shilpa Shiksha O Aupaniveshik Bharat (Art Education in Colonial India-Bengali), Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1998
Sobhan Som Openti Biscope,  camp, 15,dihi entail road, Calcutta-14, January 1993
Subramanyan K. G., Living Tradition, Perspectives on Modern Indian Art, Seagull Books Pvt. Limited, Kolkata, 1987.
Subramanyan K. G., Magic of Making, Essays on Art and Culture, Seagull Books, 2007 
Subhramanyan K. G., Moving Focus: Essays on Indian Art, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, 1978, Reissued by Seagull Books, Calcutta in 2006
Subhramanyan K. G., ‘The Nandalal Gandhi Rabindranath Connection’, Rhythm of India, The Art of Nandalal Bose, San Diego Museum of Art, California, 2008. 
Szanton David L and Malini Bakshi, Mithila Painting: The evolution of an Art Form, Pinkmango, San Francisco, USA, 2007
Vatsayan Kapila, The Square and the Circle of the Indian Arts, Abhinav Publications, 1997  

Course url: https://onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in/noc16_hs13
Course duration :
8 Weeks
Start date and end date of course: 18 July 2016 - 09 September 2016
Dates of exams : 18 September 2016 and 25 September 2016
Time of exam : 2pm - 5pm
Final List of exam cities will be available in exam registration form.
Exam registration url - Will be announced shortly
Exam Fee:
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee of approximately Rs. 1000/- (non-Programming) needs to be paid.


E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam. Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam. It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT-Kanpur

It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.