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British Council Presents Folk Archive: A Vibrant, Visual Account of Contemporary Popular British Culture Debuts in India

British Council presents works by leading international artists Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi between October 2014 and February 2015

Oct 17, 2014   13:17 IST 

The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, brings to India Folk Archive, a vibrant, visual account of contemporary popular British culture by leading international artists Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane.


In India, Folk Archive will be shown at the Victoria Memorial, Kolkata, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi. In these venues the exhibition will demonstrate the rich variety of British art and creativity, beyond what audiences may be familiar with, and create at the same an unexpected and complex cross cultural dialogue.


Bringing together drawing, painting, film, performance, costume, decoration, political opinion and humour, and some astonishing objects, Folk Archive celebrates activity from a vast range of British pastimes and pursuits, and demonstrates that folk art in the UK is both widespread and vigorous. Folk Archive includes work from prisoners and community groups, Notting Hill Carnival troupes, protesters, pop fans, teenagers, villagers and the homeless.


Folk Archive blurs the lines between traditional categories of ‘fine arts’, design, crafts, folk and daily creativity. It addresses different audience groups: young designers who work with street kitsch visuals, graffiti and street artists, artists engaged with community work, urban cutting edge conceptual artists and young people. Usually contemporary art is considered to be quite inaccessible by non-art world audiences. Folk Archive demonstrates through its quirkiness- the presentation of hand crafted objects, festivals, and the aspirations of people, that art is not something removed from our daily lives. Above all, Folk Archive celebrates everyday creativity that is a part of each of our lives.


Folk Archive is part of the British Council Collection. It was acquired by the British Council Collection in 2007 and has since been exhibited in Belgrade, Paris, Milan and Shanghai. For more information visit :


Folk Archive, India schedule:


Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum

Preview: 30 October

Exhibition: 31 October- 30 November



Victoria Memorial Hall

Preview: 16 December

Exhibition: 17 December 2014- 7 January 2015



Mati Ghar, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts

Preview: 31 January 2015

Exhibition: 1 February- 27 February 2015




Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane have worked on projects together on and off for over 20 years. Throughout, their productions have drawn on the irreverent sense of humour that first drew them together. Their first project entitled, ‘Constable, Can’t You See My Predicament?’ (1993, with artists Simon Periton and Daniel Mitchell), comprised a bus trip to the seaside with numerous experiences on the journey. Other small interventions in group shows and publications were followed by a collaborative exhibition, ‘Butterfly Ball’, with notorious host Peter Stringfellow at his nightclub in London in 1995. Between 2003–07, there were three realisations of their Steam Powered Internet Machine – a cumbersome contraption that physically brings together the Industrial and Digital Revolutions – while in 2009 they selected works from the British Council Collection for the exhibition ‘My Yard’ at the Whitechapel Gallery, London.


Folk Archive’, their most comprehensive work to date, was introduced in ‘Intelligence’, the first Tate Triennial of British Art in 2000, and realised in full as ‘Folk Archive: Contemporary Popular Art from the UK’ at the Barbican Art Gallery in 2005, touring museums in the UK the following year. Folk Archive attempts to update the idea of folk art by collecting an array of objects besides documentation of performances and idiosyncratic events associated with Britain’s contemporary local folk culture. In 2008, the town of Egremont, Cumbria, which features extensively in Folk Archive, inaugurated the pair’s only permanent public artwork, the Greasy Pole, which functions both as sculpture and occasional sporting apparatus. Folk Archive was acquired by the British Council Collection in 2007 and has since been exhibited in Belgrade, Paris, Milan and Shanghai.


About the British Council:

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.


For more than 70 years the British Council has been collecting works of art, craft and design to promote abroad the achievements of the UKs best artists, craft practitioners and designers abroad. The Collection — which began in the late 1930s, with a modest group of works on paper — has now grown to a collection of more than 8500 artworks, from paintings and prints, to drawings, photography, multi-media and installations. The Collection has no permanent gallery and has been referred to as a 'Museum Without Walls'.


The British Council was established in India in 1948. The British Council is recognised across India for its network of 9 libraries and cultural centres. We offer a range of specialised projects in arts, education, exams, English language and society to audiences across India and more than 100,000 members. We also provide access to English language training and learning for both students and teachers, offer UK qualifications in India and enable opportunities to study in the UK.

Folk Archive Banner
Folk Archive Banner
Farmers Protest, Whitehall, London, 2001
Farmers Protest, Whitehall, London, 2001
Snowdrop the Mechanical Elephant, The Clare Family, Egremont, Cumbria, 2004

Snowdrop the Mechanical Elephant, The Clare Family, Egremont, Cumbria, 2004
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