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visual arts
Indian Subcontinent

Daughters of India: Art and Identity

Stephen P. Huyler.
Publisher Abbeville  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 11.95 x 9.3 x 1.15 inches
ISBN 9780789210029
Pages/Publication Date 263/2008
Daedalus Item Code 34409
List Price: $65.00
Sale Price: $14.98
You Save: $50.02
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Warmly and abundantly illustrated with 250 large color photos—particularly works of art, and portraits of the women who created them—this book profiles 20 women in modern India who strive to improve conditions for their families and for all Indian women through their creative and innovative efforts. Cultural anthropologist, art historian, and photographer Stephen Huyler has documented the lives and work of Indian women artists for three decades. Here he dispels myths about "repressed" Indian women and reveals their phenomenal fortitude (the word for strength and power in most Indian languages, shakti, is also the generic word for "goddess"), from a woman preparing for her son's wedding to a leading female IT entrepreneur.

"The stunning photographs of Indian women, artworks and landscapes alone make this book worth picking up, but Huyler's project is about more than beautiful images, profiling 20 Indian women who have overcome patriarchal restrictions to become entrepreneurs (often the family breadwinners), artists, anti-war protesters and software engineers. Six-year-old Padma is taught by her mother the art of kolam, a 'sacred design drawn using rice flour,' usually kept on the doorstep as 'invocations to the gods and goddesses that are believed to protect the home.' Another woman, Minhazz, captures the tension between India's Hindu and Islam cultures in her bamboo crafts; born Muslim, a faith that frowns on visual art, she was also influenced by Hindu culture, and feels that, 'even though I am an Indian ... I will always be an outsider.' Aside from individual efforts, progress has come from above in the abolition of the dowry system in 1961, but most murder cases in India are still motivated by 'an inability to keep up dowry payments.' Each of the women profiled show tremendous strength, courage, intelligence and independence, making this a hopeful, colorful look at the lives of Indian women, still difficult despite important steps toward equality."—Publishers Weekly

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