Santhal Family

Ramkinkar Baij



The Santhal Family made by the artist Ramkinkar Baij in 1938, is the first modernist public sculpture in India. Its sheer physical presence on the campus in Bengal where it stands, its combination of ancient and modern, Eastern and Western aesthetics and its subject matter of migrant tribal labour give it a unique place in Indian art history. It produces a narrative about art and society that reaches well beyond the works immediate context and opens up a discursive sphere in which questions such as the ethics of representation, the politics of gesture, the location of modernism and a desire for world culture are played out.

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