Caste Life Narratives, Visual Representation, And Protected Ignorance
Abstract

Abstract:

Caste life narratives in India that have emerged through Ambedkarite social, cultural, and political movements have challenged the Brahmanical metanarratives of aesthetic canons as well as the nature of language and representation. Representation in this case is not an abstract entity but operates more at a physical level, empowering people to express their experiences in language. This essay is an attempt to interrogate pictorial representations that artists produce from the idea of caste life experiences. The essay also attempts to unfold a perceptual means of understanding as well as conceptual formulations through the critical framework of "protected ignorance." The paper addresses the works of artists who have used caste to enter the realm of pictorial space to narrate the stark realities of caste life ignored by liberals who canonized modernist aesthetics as Brahmanical. The essay offers brief explanations of theoretical formulations of protected ignorance, a critical account of different interpretative frameworks that evolved in twentieth-century and contemporary India, and analyses of a range of pictorial representations that have come through critics of caste life.