Doktoratsprojekt wissenschaftliche Forschung

Human Rights as Transnational Strategy from exploring Socially Engaged Art in India

Mekhala Dave

The research explores the question whether human rights is transnational from art practices in India. India’s wealth of artistic and social practice reveals the challenges to the dynamics of human rights violations in sub-cultures of India.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 with the ratification of 58 members of the United Nations at the time for the rights and freedoms of all human beings. This charter’s history of human rights rose from American and French revolutions with their roots in renaissance and early modern period. Scholarly debates reveal that by the inclusion of events from developing nations, the history of human rights may be altered and spark a transnational strategy, i.e., human rights may be interpreted at local and international level with past and present narratives and across geographies from the global south.

I analyse and compare forms of art practices that are politically engaged in India and Europe. Such art practices generate different levels of aesthetics at grassroots level, institutions of museums/galleries and public spaces. The ways of presentations will have an insight into emerging art practices and politics of institutions to approach human rights in India and Europe.
I will develop arguments for participatory frameworks for art-making to open the space for new forms of expressions that will inform human rights from a non-European perspective. The research will contribute and may bring transformation independent of a western historical pattern for the analysis of a globalised aesthetic. From the 3 year long phased research, we will understand ‘new aesthetics’ as part of the culture of ‘knowledge’ in curatorial contexts that neatly situates in the Department of Art & Society, Art & Knowledge Transfer at Die Angewandte Wien.

*The research has the support of Khoj International Artists’ Association (New Delhi), the collaborative partners for the research, that are assisting and developing art practices (socially engaged art) within sub-cultures of India, which is first of it’s kind in the country.