Painting Stories

Painting Stories : Lives and Legacies from an Indian Crafts Village

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Painting Stories explores the accomplishments, struggles, and livelihoods of traditional artisans in Raghurajpur, a village known for its patta chitra painters. In this collection, Helle Bundgaard weaves thirty years of observations and experiences into a tapestry of stories, which together present a poignant image of the lives of Indian craft makers and their personal connections to the art that they create.

The painters' stories are situated in a rich cultural environment and steeped in social relations. For them, painting is more than a livelihood or an aesthetic expression - it is a way of life.

Painting Stories is a window into a part of our world rarely seen, reminding us of both our rich diversity and our shared humanity. Written with the painters, students, and laypersons in mind, the book includes a discussion of ethnographic storytelling and resources for ethnographic writing, as well as color photographs that bring the stories to life.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 13mm | 350g
  • Toronto, Canada
  • English
  • 30 colour illustrations; 30 Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1487527330
  • 9781487527334
  • 1,249,989

Table of contents


A Foreign Bird
The Sketchbook
A Ladies' Bicycle
A Craving for Idlis
The Helmet
The Wrath of a Deity
A Long Journey
A Brief Glimpse of Joy
A Convenient Arrangement
A Friend for Life
Too Good to be True
Still Standing
Just Luck?
Something to Celebrate
Spectator Bird
Voyages through Time

Afterword: The Painting of Painting Stories
Recommended Readings
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Review quote

Painting Stories is a beautifully written book, rich in its depictions of everyday life among painters and crafters in an Indian village, conveyed through an innovative approach to narrative ethnography. Bundgaard's long-term engagement with the village informs her evocative portraits of scenes, events, and people for whom creativity is at the center of their lives. - Deborah Reed-Danahay, University at Buffalo
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About Helle Bundgaard

Helle Bundgaard is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen.
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