In 2004 and 2005, Fels traveled to Kerala (formerly Malabar), India, as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar, to work with local commercial signboard painters on a body of work that examines globalization in India and traces its roots to Vasco's voyage. Most of the signboard painters had formerly worked as billboard painters -- until recently, all billboards in India were hand-painted, but cheaper and more efficient inkjet printers are making the painters obsolete. In light of this trend, Fels and his collaborators created work in the style of traditional hand-painted billboards and Bollywood advertising. The bright colors and strong graphic narratives make visually arresting statements about the historic and contemporary effects of trade and globalization.
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