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SADAK. Hand painted street signs in India. - Aradhana Seth

Since the 1990s, hand-painted signs in India – one of the defining elements of the country’s urban landscape – have been largely replaced by more technologically advanced media. Today, they survive in a vernacular culture quite distinct from largescale digital productions. The work of the sign-painters represents a visual itinerary through the historical-economic changes of Indian society over the years; paintings that emerge in vivid shapes and colours and humanise the sharp aesthetics of the subjects and objects of globalised capitalism.

The book showcases a part of artist Aradhana Seth’s photographic archive: a multitude of designs on shop shutters, doors, signs and the walls of various places of interest and businesses. Produced over the past few decades, the images are split into three thematic sections: commerce and services, culture, and nature and landscape. Complementing the publication are biographies of Raza Abbas, Praveen Chauan, Prashant Janardhan Dalvi and Shakeel, just some of the artists who created the paintings photographed; a critical text by visual culture lecturer Kajri Jain, outlining the theoretical framework within which to interpret these visual forms, as well as an autobiographical text by artist Francesco Clemente.

Humboldt Books, 2023
Softcover, 184pp
235 x 165mm

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