Sundaribai: Speaking with Clay
by Jyotindra Jain
Over the last two decades several Indian folk and tribal artists have crossed borders from their inherited sites of art practice to explore new possibilities offered by their contemporary environment and to enter more formal, urban exhibition spaces. Thus, the essentialist notion that the rural and tribal societies are characterised by the idea of a static collective tradition is now crumbling. Such terms as the “seriality of production,” “collectivity,” “tradition,” and “commodity potential” cannot anymore meaningfully describe folk and tribal art. Sundaribai, a Chhattisgarh farmer woman, is one such example, of an artist creating a gigantic installation of the Karama festival in clay relief work, signing it and desirous of showing in museums and galleries. It clearly indicates that the folk and tribal artists have expanded the field of their expression and enterprise.