India on Display: Nationalism, Transnationalism and Collaboration, 1964–1986

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Exhibitions are often equated with the nation, used to design and promote national identity. After Indian independence, during the Cold War, exhibitions co-designed by US and Indian practitioners were used to bring together two different countries for mutual (but discrete) national benefit. This article interrogates these ‘national’ exhibitions, attending to their transnational nature and positioning their creators as ‘cosmopolitan patriots’ whose plural identities were forged in the making of exhibitions and the material world. Focusing on the complex professional and personal relationships between Indian and US curators and designers, this article examines three major exhibitions of India held in the US: ‘Jawaharlal Nehru: His Life and His India’ (1965, Eames Office/National Institute of Design); ‘Unknown India’ (1968, Stella Kramrisch/Haku Shah), and ‘The Costumes of Royal India’ (1986, Diana Vreeland/Martand Singh). Together they highlight both the transnational nature of Indian nationalism and the limits of exhibitions as tools of the nation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-320
JournalThird Text
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Third Text on 01/11/2017, available online:


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