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In the 1980s Festivals of India were organized in the UK, France, the USA, the USSR, and Japan, involving performances, symposia, and exhibitions. Including over 70 art exhibitions, the United States' Festival of India significantly shaped the study of Indian art by, on the one hand, occasionally serving as the focus for innovative programming and exhibition topics, and, on the other, reifying longstanding and often problematic approaches to the study of the region's visual culture. Using the Festival of India as a pivotal example for the exhibition of South Asian art around the world, this paper demonstrates the continuing legacy of colonial exhibitions and national festivals by focusing on the small moments of resistance provided by artists and performers from India who challenged the dominant narrative of the Festival. Including people in art exhibitions has a history dating to the earliest international exhibitions in the nineteenth century. During the Festival of India, street performers, vernacular painters, product designers, and gallery artists from India became part of art exhibitions both through their art and through their physical presence. This paper explores the ways in which their participation enabled them to intrude, interject, reshape, and challenge the overarching cultural diplomacy and commercial exchange narrative of the Festival of India.