UC Riverside Company Paintings & Cultural Appropriation Questions


AThe paintings shown below are examples of a common subject of Company Paintings: Indians sitting in groups wearing local or traditional dress. While these works were typically painted by Indian artists, they were usually commissioned by British patrons and made for distribution back in Britain. Visually they share many similarities and clearly conform to a certain accepted ‘type’ which appealed to a British audience.Part 1:What do you think was the appeal of works like these for viewers back in Britain? What kinds of things do these paintings convey about their subjects, and what might a British viewer who had never been to India before take away from viewing these works? Think of the way that power plays a role here.(at least 250 words; 10 points)Eight Sikh Courtiers and Servants of the Raja of Patiala, folio from the Fraser Album, 1817, pencil and watercolor on paperKhan Bahadur Khan with men of his clan, c. 1815Group of Courtesans, c. 1800-1825The idea of ‘Orientalism’ as it was theorized by Edward Said may be useful to think about as you complete this assignment. Here is the Introduction to his book, Orientalism (Links to an external site.), (which can be a bit dense!) and here is an article on Orientalism from SmartHistory (Links to an external site.), which is simpler! You do not need to agree with Said, but his ideas are worth thinking about in connection to these works.Part 2:Read through your classmates’ responses and reply to at least one post. Did your classmate interpret the works in a similar way to you? Was there anything they missed? Reflect upon your own post and anything you might be rethinking after reading your classmates’ responses.(5 points)Classmate: Although company paintings were typically painted by Indian Artists yet usually commissioned by British patrons and made for distribution back in Britain. I think the appeal for works like this, back in Britain gave them a sense of empowerment. They helped show their people Indian culture and this really caught the europeans eyes. If you think about the creation of an “orient” is a result of imperialism, tourism In Europe there was cultural appropriation (Links to an external site.) going on says Dr.Nancy Demerdash in her article of Orientslism. They unacknowledged the adaption of others traditions and customs, their ideas and this happens because a more dominant society comes and take these elements. It’s the fact that Europeans were able to purchase these art works, own them and take them back to their land to distribute them back in Britain clearly shows the influences in those areas. These paintings convey Indian artists culture and their customs. You can see this from their clothing they have in the paintings and what they are doing as well, They are all sitting on the ground rather than on furniture, In two of the paintings someone is smoking hookah. Their work is then expanded from the eastern world to the west. what I believe a British viewer who had never been to India before could take away from viewing these works could see their traditions and cultures and learn somewhat about them. But the power they had to go to another country and buy these artworks to distribute them in their own land shows who had most power. I believe and see power played a huge role the audience for company paintings, the wealthy British patrons and their peers back in Britain were the buyers and the subjects once again were Indian people.-I decided to use bold font to not confuse anyone reading my discussion. I answered each question provided by our professor so no one is confused.-AshleyBAs South Asians sought and eventually gained independence from Britain, artists, writers, and other intellectuals sought to find ways of expressing South Asian cultural identity. This search for a means of expression was tied up with the question of what it meant to be modern independent nation-states (India and Pakistan) rather than colonies in the vast and powerful British Empire. Rabindranath Tagore, Untitled, colored ink on paper, c. 1929-30 (25.3 x 35.7 cm)What do you think were some challenges faced by artists as they tried to determine what was an ‘authentically’ Indian or South Asian style or means of expression? Your response should reflect that you have done the reading and spent some time thinking seriously about the issue.

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