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The Guild Art Gallery in association with KHOJ organised the Delhi launch of a major book-length study of Navjot Altaf’s practice:The Thirteenth Place: Positionality as Critique in the Art of Navjot Altaf, authored by cultural theorist and curator, Nancy Adajania.   

Navjot Altaf and the author Nancy Adajania were in conversation with Ravi Agarwal.

On The Thirteenth Place published by The Guild Art Gallery:

Navjot Altaf’s rich and complex career spans over four decades, during which the artist has experimented with a spectrum of media including painting, sculpture, installation and video, and extended her practice through a series of encounters and collaborations with intellectuals, activists and subaltern artists. From the earliest phase of her career, as a painter emerging from Bombay’s Sir J J School of Art, to the present, when she straddles the worlds of tribal Central India and of global contemporary art, Navjot has sustained her ideas and work through a process of intense scrutiny.

The Thirteenth Place: Positionality as Critique in the Art of Navjot Altaf, authored by cultural theorist and curator Nancy Adajania, is the first major book-length study of the artist. Adajania, who has engaged closely with Navjot’s work for two decades, presents a nuanced and substantial account of her practice, situating it in the varied contexts that have nourished the artist’s imagination. She frames Navjot’s journey within the troubled relationship between aesthetic and political avant-gardes in postcolonial Indian culture. The author produces regional histories for Marxism and feminism, demonstrating the role these ideologies have played in the evolution of practices such as Navjot’s.

Adajania articulates, for the first time, a historical account of the little-known PROYOM (Pragatisheel Yuva Morcha), the 1970s progressive youth movement. She also discusses the impact of the Indian women’s movement as well as Western feminist art discourse on Navjot’s art. Significantly, she interprets Navjot’s work through the relationship between the discursive and abstraction, and its negotiations with the limits of language. The Thirteenth Place is relevant to readers of art history as well as those concerned with politics, anthropology, activism and women’s studies.

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