Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorEmmanuel, Kaitlin Sukanya
dc.identifier.otherbibid: 9948838
dc.description.abstractABSTRACT This thesis looks at the life and practice of photographer Lionel Wendt (1900-1944). Wendt had a brief but prolific career as a photographer in the 1930s in the island then known as Ceylon, today known as Sri Lanka. His practice corresponds to a time in which the idea of what it meant to be from, and of, the nation of Ceylon was called into question as the island moved closer to independence from British rule. I situate my approach to Wendt’s photographs through this new imagining, and aim to bring his practice in conversation with the island’s social history from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. My approach begins with Wendt’s role as leader of a forming avant-garde in Ceylon and how his practice as a photographer arose out of his interest in global modernist discourses and modes of cultural production in Ceylon. I also look to how Wendt’s photographs circulated, and the context and conditions of production that surround his photographs. Finally, I bring Wendt’s “Surrealist” aesthetic into question and expand on this categorization to account for his engagement with the Surrealist movement through discourse, in addition to his formal and aesthetic engagement. Rather than understand Wendt through a recognizable aesthetic and style, I seek to unpack the social aesthetics of his work. That is, how do Wendt’s photographs speak to the social, political and cultural conditions in which they were produced. The difficulty in bringing new readings to Wendt’s work arises from the limited access to his photographs, which are dispersed across private collections, out-of-print publications, and journals located in the depths of the archive. My access to this archive is also limited, but I do not seek to provide a comprehensive overview or understanding of his work. Instead, I use the social history surrounding Wendt’s practice to demonstrate how his photographs resist a singular meaning and can thus be subjected to multiple readings. These readings coexist and conflict with one another, which is itself an expression and reflection of their modernity and the conditions of their production.
dc.subjectSouth Asian studies
dc.subjectcomparative modernities
dc.subjectArt history
dc.titleLionel Wendt: Between Empire and Nation
dc.typedissertation or thesis Studies University of Arts, Asian Studies
dc.contributor.chairBlackburn, Anne M
dc.contributor.committeeMemberDadi, Muhammad I

Files in this item


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record