Nina Sabnani

Nina Sabnani is an artist and storyteller who uses film, illustration and writing to tell her stories. Her research interests...

Reflective Frames, Animated Conversations


Why bring animation into ethnographic work with folk artists? How does this practice erase the difference between 'folk' and 'contemporary'? in fact, how does using animation to understand folk forms reveal what the two share - that folk crafts are cinematic and animation is, like many folk arts, handmade. These are questions that animate Nina Sabnani's work.

Ethnography, the "systematic study of people and cultures", is designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study. Ethnography asks the people being studied what they think of the world, their circumstances, themselves. From this data, ethnography offers an understanding of the people being studied and the world they inhabit.

In the developing field of Sensory Ethnography, ethnographers have been finding innovative means of learning about people and their world through collaborative activities like making a film. Nina Sabnani's means of ethnographic research and collaboration is animation.

We are delighted to invite Nina Sabnani - animated film maker, visual ethnographer, lost traveller - to Mumbai Local, to share with us why she brings animation into ethnographic work. She will discuss why she sees animation as a powerful medium for ethnographic work, and how she uses it to bring about the meeting of art and research. She will also reflect on how animation allows for collaborative meaning making, enabling research to give back to the participants, and not just take from them. And of course, we will get to see some very cool animation that shows us exactly what she means!

We look forward to a fascinating evening learning about people, cultures, arts practices, and collaborative experiments. An evening that promises to open up questions about agency, power structures and the challenges and promises of collaborative work.

Do join us on Friday. Preferably at the venue, but if that is impossible, we will be airing the session live on our Facebook page for you.

This session is curated by Paromita Vohra.

RSVP for this session begins on Monday, 11th March, 2019.

Nina Sabnani is an artist and storyteller who uses film, illustration and writing to tell her stories. Her research interests include exploring the dynamics between words and images in book illustration and films. Her animated films use an ethnographic approach to making films in a participatory mode and she has worked with several communities including the Madhubani artists, Kutchi embroiderers, Kaavad artists and storytellers and the Warli and Bhil artists. Her animated films have received several awards including the Rajatkamal National award for Hum Chitra Banate Hain (We Make Images) from the president of India in 2016. Recently she received the lifetime achievement award for Illustration from Tata Trusts at the Tata Lit Live Festival at Mumbai, 2018. Nina is Professor at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay.

Venues Dates Time
12-99 yrs
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