Southern Belles...

Native Women of South India: Manners and Customs, is finally here.

Between 2000 and 2004, artist Pushpamala N and photographer Claire Arni undertook an unusual and brilliant project with the support of the India Foundation for the Arts. They were the "protagonists in a project exploring the history of photography as a tool of ethnographic documentation, playing with the notions of subject and object, the photographer and the photographed, white and black, real and fake, ..."

Well, it looks like (judging from the picture on the right, which was in The Hindu of the times) that they had a lot of fun, but there was serious business too... which ultimately led to the book of the event. With essays by Susie Tharu ("Goddesses, political satire, film stills, calendar icons, votive and high art images, anthropometrical and ethnographic records, news and documentary photographs and a host of other images and image formats are cited and wittily cross-fertilized. The artists create a virtual population explosion that mimics the mood, energy and genius of the visual vernacular in contemporary India.") and Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Native Women of South India: Manners and Customs is a delightful record of what was clearly a very exciting collaboration.

In our Art and Architecture section. Hard Bound with dust jacket, 150 pages with more than 300 full colour illustrations. Rs 1500 or $40 (outside India) plus shipping. Write to us.