An Introduction

We are delighted to welcome you to Tasveer Ghar: A Digital Network of South Asian Popular Visual Culture. Tasveer Ghar is a trans-national virtual “home” for collecting, digitizing, and documenting various materials produced by South Asia’s exciting popular visual sphere including posters, calendar art, pilgrimage maps and paraphernalia, cinema hoardings, advertisements, and other forms of street and bazaar art.

Some of the key fields of exploration within the network are:

(a) the social and performative life of images;
(b) the histories and everyday lives and voices of producers, disseminators and ‘consumers’;
(c) various techniques of visuality/media of visualisation (for instance, ritual or theatrical per­formance, or political spectacle).

We also hope that such a digital data-base, which we envisage as an open access, democratic space, will also serve as a hub around which to promote dialogue and debate on matters pertaining to South Asian popular visual culture. We hope that Tasveer Ghar, we anticipate, will help promote inter-disciplinary scholarly exchange across the globe between academics, artists, and others on South Asian popular visual culture.

Tasveer Ghar has been supported by:

(1) a generous three-year gift from Adarsh and Ranvir Trehan of the Trehan Foundation to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA (2007-09). With these start-up funds we planned several exciting events over the course of three years. These activities are currently limited to Indian popular visual culture, but as and when we raise more funds, we hope to expand our reach to cover the other countries of the South Asian subcontinent.

(2) a generous grant of three years of funding from the German Research Foundation, via Heidelberg University’s Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context. Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows”. This funding allows Tasveer Ghar to expand its scope beyond India, and look at the cultural flows between Europe and Asia in popular Muslim iconography (see workshops and Visual Pilgrim). This support has been extended by further digitising and annotating the Priya Paul collection (Delhi), increasingly availing it to scholars and interested people around the world.  

Tasveer Ghar is located in two institutional nodes:

The principals at these institutions are Sumathi Ramaswamy and Christiane Brosius. Yousuf Saeed is based in New Delhi. More details

We invite you—as friend, colleague, and partner—to join this initiative in whatever capacity that you are comfortable with. 

Christiane, Sumathi, and Yousuf