SMArt Talks

Chittaprosad’s Famine Sketches in Light of Decolonial Aesthetics

Avishek Ray

🗓 27th of February 2024

📍Hans Belting Library (Veveří 470/28, 602 00 Brno)


In 1943, Bengal witnessed one of its foundational tragedies: the fifteenth and the deadliest famine in colonial India. This famine was man-made, and was further aggravated due to imperial policies. To absolve its liability, the colonial administration, for about a year, was in complete disavowal of the famine. Meanwhile, Chittaprosad (1915–1978) made impromptu sketches of the famine, which were soon to be dismissed by the Government of (British) India. The talk discusses the competing, and often contentious, relation between two forms of pictorial testimony – the official and the aesthetic – of the famine; and as importantly, how Chittaprosad’s representations negotiate the matrix of colonial power, archival truth, cultural memory and testimonial evidentialism.

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