Publication Date

8-2007

Journal

Tourist Studies

Volume

7

Issue

2

First Page

193

Last Page

223

Abstract

In this article, I examine the values and meanings that adhere to objects made by Maithil women at a development project in Janakpur, Nepal – objects collectors have called ‘Janakpur Art’. I seek to explain how and why changes in pictorial content in Janakpur Art – shifts that took place over a period of five or six years in the 1990s – occurred, and what such a change might indicate about the link between Maithil women’s lives, development, and tourism. As I will demonstrate, part of the appeal for consumers of Janakpur Art has been that it is produced at a ‘women’s development project’ seeking to empower its participants. And yet, the project’s very successes threaten to displace the producers (and what they produce) from their perceived qualities/identities as ‘traditional’ and ‘primitive,’ thereby bringing into question the authenticity of the ‘art’ they produce. The conundrum begs this question: can developing women produce primitive art?

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post-print manuscript