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Visualizing Development with Identity: Relational Aesthetics of Indigenous Collaborative Community Art Projects

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with two participatory community art projects exploring aspirations and fears regarding identity and development with representatives of indigenous Benet people in Uganda and Khasi people in India. The projects were implemented in collaboration with Dutch artists as well as development and museum experts from the Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, in 2012. The development experts worked for over a decade on indigenous wellbeing and are part of a global network of development practitioners, activists and indigenous representatives. Through these contacts a number of indigenous groups in Asia and Africa were identified that experienced clear tensions between cultural heritage preservation and development. One key consideration was the availability of a variety of local leaders and organizations, especially indigenous ones, who understood and supported a collaborative artwork on indigenous identity, aspirations and fears. Another was community access to basic necessities such as drinking water, physical safety, and electricity for computers.

Keywords: community art projects; Dutch artists; India; indigenous identity; Royal Tropical Institute; Uganda



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