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



PREREQUISITES: Bachelor Degree in Humanities


433 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
  • Conclusion

  • 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 
  • The exam is optional for a fee.
  • Date and Time of Exams: April 28 (Saturday) and April 29 (Sunday) : Morning session 9am to 12 noon; 
  • Exam for this course will be available in one session on both 28 and 29 April.
  • Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
  • The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published.


  • Final score will be calculated as : 25% assignment score + 75% final exam score
  • 25% assignment score is calculated as 25% of average of  Best 6 out of 8 assignments
  • E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam and score greater than or equal to 40% final score. Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IITKanpur.It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.