Ladakh’s visual culture researcher receives FICA grant

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New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) The Ila Dalmia FICA Research Grant 2018 of the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) has been awarded to JNU academic Rigzin Chodon, whose research revolves around visual material from newspapers of Ladakh and Kyelang from various parts of the last century ranging from 1925 to 1959.

The grant aims to encourage research in the field of Indian modern and contemporary art. The grant of Rs 2 lakh will supports Chodon’s research project for one year, FICA said.

Chodon was chosen for her project titled “Hand-made Sketches from the Early-20th Century Newspapers of Ladakh and Kyelang: A Study of Kyelang Agbar and Ladvags Phonya (1925-35; 1936-47 and 1952-59 AD)”.

She seeks to study the rich visual archival material populating the Kyelang Agbar and Ladvags Phonya newspapers from the early to mid-20th century in the Himalayan belt.

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These monthly newspapers published at the Kyelang Mission House in Lahaul and Leh Mission House were full of new ideas and expressions with evangelical messages and secular news from around India as well as the world.

“She intends to study the hand-made sketches from these newspapers that highlighted the socio-cultural currents of the time of publication. Treating them as historical documents, she will explore the visual representation of the people of Ladakh and the cultural exchanges that were taking place between this Himalayan region and the West,” FICA said.

The jury for the grant consisted of Belinder Dhanoa, Assistant Professor, School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University Delhi; Parul Dave Mukherji, Professor, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU); Yashodhara Dalmia, art curator and critic; and Vidya Shivadas, Director of FICA.

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The jury noted that the research will contribute to “our understanding of aspects of the visual culture of the region, about which there has been little study”.

Chodon works as a Research Associate at the Ladakh Arts And Media Organization, Leh. Her doctorate is in “Language, Politics & Identity: Study of Missionary Newspapers in Ladakh and Kyelang” from JNU.

–IANS

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