Art-Ritual-Culture: Apprehending the Triad in Contemporary Indian Context

Sudhir Kumar
PhD Junior Research Fellow (UGC), Department of Fine Arts, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh (UP), India. ORCID: 0000-0003-4608-7917. Email:

Vol. 1, No. 2, 2016 I Full Text PDF

Received September 27, 2016; Revised October 19, 2016; Accepted November 21, 2016; Published December 16, 2016


Art, ritual and culture – these are the entities that form the basis of knowing the collective psyche of a society – how they think of them, their aims in life and their approaches towards responses to various natural phenomena. In the Indian context the triad has been interrelated in such an intimate manner that changing the approaches towards one would necessarily affect the others. In India though art has been deeply embedded in the daily activities of the people and their physical utilitarian objects, yet above that art has also gained a very high status in their lives by reflecting their aspirations, their philosophical and intellectual approaches towards life and phenomena in nature and the understanding of their respective positions in cosmos. If art and ritual acting together has been threshold for higher consciousness, the culture has been the denominator of their scientific and spiritual achievements. Thus, the findings in art, presenting the face of Indian culture also indicate their successes and failures at different points of time and space. But there seems to be an abrupt break in this current if we observe the contemporary art pursuits and the academic opinions on art and aesthetics in the country. By correlating the traditional approaches towards art and ritual with those of contemporary art practices and researches this paper briefly tries to bring forth some of such issues that are quite imperative to be cogitated upon for all-round cultural developments of the individuals and the society.

Keywords: Art and Ritual, Indian Art and Aesthetics, Indigenous arts of India, Indian Culture, Indian Contemporary Art, Art Research and Education