“Blurring the Divide: Folk art and Classical Art.”

Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

দেবপ্রসাদ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়

 Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata

Bilingual Annual Research Journal of Folklore (Lokodarpan), Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 181-193, 2005

Manomohan: So, I decided, after finishing my graduation, I would join Art College. Suddenly, one day I got a foreign magazine. After opening it, what I saw is a full page picture of a bison! It was not a photograph — but a drawing! … (the bison is) charging by its horn. You know, it was a wonderful picture — what strength, what a vigorous gesture, as if de Vinci is defeated. Who did draw such picture– who is that artist! The caption says that twenty thousand years ago, in the stone age a primitive human drew this picture in the wall of a cave in Spain’s Altamira. The event was so surprising that I said in myself that I saluted you, my dear brother, bison, whatever I would be in my life but not an artist. No Art School of the world can teach me to draw like this. From this point, I was curious about the dividing practice — the divide between civilized and uncivilized…
–An excerpts from Satyajit Ray’s film ‘Agantuk’ (The Stranger)

Binodbihari Mukhopadhyay, an almost blind artist (on whom Satyajit Ray, a student of Mukhopadhyay, made a documentary film, “The Inner Eye”), once (1978) depicted an incident, from which he had learnt something extraordinary. At the time of drawing a herd of Buffalos at the bank of the river Khoay, Santiniketan, some Santal (a so-called “tribe” of India. I am reluctunt enough to call a ‘group’ of Homo Sapiens as “tribe”.) women intervened and commented, “babu, you have drawn the group of buffalos excellently, but why do you not put a buffalo-kid in your picture?”

Taking cue from the problems inaugurated by Monmohan in “The Stranger” and this narrative depicted by Mukhopadhyay, we can problematize the issues of this paper from two standpoints:
A. Art school cannot teach art per se;
B. The division between civilized and non-civilized is not tenable and can be reverted.
In this paper, I will concentrate to these two problems by further problematizing the art-science division in connection with A and B by reinterpreting and questioning the folk-non-folk dichotomy in the realm of Art. The organization of the paper is as follows:

• Section-2 starts with a small reiteration of my earlier stands on the construct of “Folk”.
• Section-3 deals with the Art-Science divide by only concentrating on Foucault’s statements regarding the division between Ars erotica and scientia sexualis.
• Section-4 will discuss problem B in connection with the polemic on “Indian” Art as well as Folk-Classical Art dichotomy.
• Section-5 will briefly comment on the schooling in relation to artistic creation.


Number of Pages in PDF File: 8

Keywords: Dividing Practice, hegemonic selving/othering


About Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Debaprasad Bandyopdhyay (b. 1965), through his 25 years journey in the realm of institutionalized academics did 27 different types of works, which are someway different from the earlier paradigms or, one might say that those works are not only mere reproductions of his inherited institutionalized cultural capital or a mimicry of a colonially imposed model that leads to intellectual anorexia or rather a type falsification of earlier paradigms. However, that might be not only a lofty claim but it also hid the fact that all our information and knowledge are socially accumulated knowledge that was, it is matter of regret, posed as private property through the sign © and the wisdom is rarely available. Bandyopadhyay’s works and projects are the products of his social milieu. Bandyopadhyay is a local sub-altern public sphere academician, who avoids the technical intelligentsia (followers of Sahib’s models and they are not committed to the persons who are accommodating surplus work-time to them by performing surplus labour) or inorganic intellectuals and thus fails to be a part of academic tribe and its subsequent socialization process. Of course, that socialization process does not lead to legendary Socratic dialogue. He is also a political activist though he has not affiliated to any political parties as he was always talking about the corporatization of political parties within the money-sign-based democratic system. He is a regular participant in TV and radio talk-shows and documentary films, street-corners’ talks and International seminars on socio-political, psychological, linguistic, environmental and economic issues. He also writes editorial columns in newspapers. He is also a part of parallel academics as it is found in West Bengal’s Little Magazine Movement, though that was not counted as the part his academic pursuit by his parent institute. His parent institute justifiably does not believe in the domain of parallel academics as this unorganized sector does not directly contribute in the transactions of formal/organized print capitalist eco-enemy paper-publication. Though the dissemination of knowledge is also observed in this space of these parallel academics as all these writings in public sphere simultaneously influence the classroom-discourse and some of them are translated into English, French and Italian. Not only that, Bandyopadhyay also sought engagement with the people, who, by supplying their surplus labour, are sustaining his livelihood. Bandyopadhyay, a linguist by training and a Ph.D.-holder (1996), a junior lecturer (1999-2011) in an autonomous central government institute in India, tries his best for those from he has received and is receiving the manifestation of surplus labour by executing some self-funded projects on economic issues in West Bengal, India. Recently he has got a consolation promotion to the post of Assistant Professor. He has done following 27 research works: 1. Crippled Creativity: An inquiry into language, psyche, society: 2. VALENCY OF BANGLA VERB AND PROBLEM OF COMPOUND VERBS: 3. Archaeology of Bangla Grammar : 4. CAN COMPUTER SPEAK? 5. FUZZY LOGICAL EXPRESSION IN BANGLA : 6. FOLKLORE AND FOLK-LANGUAGE: MYTH OR REALITY? 7. HISTORICISM IN THE DISCOURSE OF BANGLA LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 8. ABHABA, ECP, DELETION AND TRACE 9. SVATVA OR MY-NESS AND ECONOMIC ENTITLEMEMT 10. TRANSLATION STUDIES 11. MASCULINITY STUDIES 12. YAYATI & BABAR COMPLEX 13. SOCIO-ECONOMIC SURVEYS IN AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY IN WEST BENGAL 14. CONCEPT OF BODY IN INDIAN PHILOSOPHY AND ARCHITECTURE 15. THE CONCEPT OF ERROR (KHYATI) IN MAD-(WO)MEN’S LANGUAGE 16. THE CONCEPT OF PERCEPTUAL TIME AND GRAMMATICAL TIME IN BANGLA 17. BANGLA CALLIGRAPHY, LANGUAGE ART AND LINGUISTIC PEDAGOGY 18. WO(L)D SPACES: NON-EXISTENCE OF WORDS 19. ANEKANTA METHODS 20. SILENCEME: SILENT OTHER IN LINGUISTICS 21. IMAGINED BOUDARIES AND PRE-COLONIAL INDIAN IMAGI-NATION 22. MAKING OF THE INDIAN PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE 23. SEGMENTING THE SUPRASEGMENTALS : MUSICKING IN SPEAKING 24. INTERPRETING GENETIC STRUCTURE BY DEPLOYING LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE 25. GLOTTOPOLITICS OF LINGUISTIC SUBALTERNITY OR AN AGENDA FOR PLANNING FROM BELOW 26. SEMIOTICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY 27. SOCIOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY ACADEMICS
Link | This entry was posted in Academic Papers & Books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s