Video documentation | Architects of a Literary Revolution: Unpacking the Dalit Panther & Little Magazine Movements | Shrujana N. Shridhar | SSAF x AAAI

The Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation (SSAF) and Asia Art Archive in India (AAA-I) are pleased to organise a public presentation by Shrujana N. Shridhar, the 2019 recipient of the SSAF–AAA Research Grant for Histories of Ideas, Art Writing, and Visual Culture.

The SSAF–AAA Research Grant, offered annually since 2018, fosters the development of innovative methodologies to identify, document, research, and annotate print visual materials inaccessible in the public domain due to reasons often political in nature.

For this public presentation, Shridhar sheds light on how Dalit writers and leaders of the Dalit Panther movement made use of “unperiodicals” and the little magazine movement to experiment in previously unexplored ways, with the intention of bringing to light the truth of their people.

The presentation is based on research that Shridhar undertook for the SSAF–AAA Research Grant where she explored and documented the intersection between the little magazine movement (1960s–70s) in Maharashtra, and the Dalit Panther movement (1970s–80s) in the same region. This research stems from Shridhar’s work with the Dalit Panther Archive, an independent collective she co-founded in 2016, to document the vibrant history, politics, art, and literature of the Ambedkarite movement in Maharashtra in the 1970s, with a specific focus on the Dalit Panthers. The work of the Dalit Panthers brings together aesthetic and political intent and, though widely recognised as a landmark in radical aesthetics, has been poorly researched and documented. With this grant, Shridhar explored a key intervention into the little magazine movement in Maharashtra—one that saw major political interventions alongside experiments with literary and visual form. These experiments have manifested in diverse print modes including booklets, pamphlets, postcards, inland letters, and posters.

The presentation will be held online on Thursday, 23 February 2023, from 5–7pm IST (7:30–9:30pm HKT) via Zoom. Artist, writer, and filmmaker Rahee Punyashloka will lead the discussion.

The presentation is free and open to the public with registration.

Shrujana N. Shridhar is an illustrator and artist based in Mumbai. Her work, which includes children’s books and editorial illustrations, centres on anti-caste expression from an Ambedkarite and feminist perspective. She belongs to the Ambedkarite-Buddhist community and runs the Dalit Panther Archive, which focuses on digitising and translating “little magazines” and literature published by members of the Dalit Panther movement.

Rahee Punyashloka is a writer, artist, and filmmaker based out of Bhubaneswar and New Delhi. He creates anti-caste art and discourse under the moniker “artedkar.” His work has been exhibited at Jakarta International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival (ARKIPEL), Athens Video Art Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Tribeca Film Festival, Ishara Art Foundation Dubai, The Method Gallery Mumbai, and MAP Bangalore, among others.