Navigating The Body And Landscape: INDIA - Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art

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Navigating The Body And Landscape: INDIA - Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art
Installation view of Opening Night at FotoFest (2018). Photo Courtesy of: @fotofest_intl and @tomasbachura

'INDIA - Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art' will be on view throughout the city of Houston, Texas from March 10, 2018 until April 22, 2018. The curatorial focus is to showcase the contemporary photographic and new media works of Indian artists working through diverse ideas with variant creative outputs. The Biennale presents the artworks of artists living and working in India because it is often marginalized. 

The curatorial focus is to showcase the contemporary photographic and new media works of Indian artists working through diverse ideas with variant creative outputs

The biennale provides a platform to showcase these important works from artists coming from a country with the impressive population of over one billion persons--and counting. Additionally, the country represents one of the largests democracies and governmental structures in the world.  

“Old Women Outside A Shop” (2010). Apoorva Guptay on view at FotoFest2018. Courtesy of: @deepalidewa

FotoFest 2018 is made possible by Lead Curator Sunil Gupta and Executive Director Steven Evans. Together, during their travels across the world, they met artists across multiple locations in India and abroad whom are included in this exhibition. In addition to curating, Sunil Gupta is an artist, writer, and activist. He has exhibited widely internationally including group exhibitions at the Pompidou Centre, Tate Liverpool, among others. “Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh” was curated by Gupta and exhibited in London’s Whitechapel Gallery, and additionally Switzerland’s Fotomuseum Winterthur. His critical writing has been published off The New Press, Yoda Press, as well as various publications.

Concerns on view range from class divisions, migration, displacement, land rights and ownership, gender and sexuality, as well as environmental issues, among others. Notions of home, especially in regards to diaspora are thematics explored in some of the photographic works.

This biennale stands are one of the most extensive displays of Indian contemporary photography internationally, and is taking place in Houston, Texas. An impressive forty-eight artists will be featured in the central location of this exhibition. The artists featured are from India, or are directly affected by the Indian diaspora. The photographic and media works on view are timely in that they speak to contemporary social, political, and individual issues and conflicts that are currently informative on the culture. 

The diverse ideas touched on throughout the works in this exhibition are articulated through the realization of a variety of photographic techniques and applications. Concerns on view range from class divisions, migration, displacement, land rights and ownership, gender and sexuality, as well as environmental issues, among others. Notions of home, especially in regards to diaspora are thematics explored in some of the photographic works. The works depict the multifaceted concerns of Indian artists today. 

Installation view of The Silos Exhibition Space, FotoFest (2018). Photo Courtesy of: @fotofest_intl

Detail view of installation and audience participation, Opening Night at FotoFest (2018). Photo Courtesy of: @fotofest_intl and @tomasbachura

The FotoFest 2018 Biennale included are participating artists from all over India, the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and more. A list of participating artists and their respective country in order is as follows: Indu Antony (IN), Pablo Bartholomew (IN), Atul Bhalla (IN), Mohini Chandra (Fiji/UK/AU), Sheba Chhachhi (Ethiopia/IN), Serena Chopra (IN), Tenzing Dakpa (IN), Sarindar Dhaliwal (CA/IN), Anita Dube (IN), Gauri Gill (IN), Chandan Gomes (IN), Shilpa Gupta (IN), Shivani Gupta (IN), Vinit Gupta (IN), Apoorva Guptay (IN), Abhishek Hazra (IN),

The photographic and media works on view are timely in that they speak to contemporary social, political, and individual issues and conflicts that are informative of the culture.

Sohrab Hura (IN), Manoj Kumar Jain (IN), Samar Singh Jodha (UAE), Ranbir Kaleka (IN), Rashmi Kaleka (IN), Max Kandhola (UK), Roshini Kempadoo (UK/Guyana), Asif Khan (IN), Anita Khemka and Imran B. Kokiloo (IN), Sandip Kuriakose (IN), Dhruv Malhotra (IN), Arun Vijai Mathavan (IN), Annu Palakunnathu Matthew(UK/USA), Uzma Mohsin (IN), Nandini Valli Muthiah (IN), Pushpamala N. (IN), Dileep Prakash (IN), Ram Rahman (IN), Raqs Media Collective (IN), Anoop Ray (IN), Vicky Roy (IN), Vidisha Saini (IN), Hemant Sareen (IN), Gigi Scaria (IN), Mithu Sen (IN), Rishi Singhal (IN), Leila Sujir (IN), Ishan Tankha (IN), Prince Varughese Thomas (USA), Anusha Yadav (IN.)

Installation view before Opening Night. FotoFest (2018). Reposted image from: @sunlightgupa7402, @get_repost. Courtesy of: @fotofest_intl

One seems to be making direct acknowledgement with the photographer, while that part can remain a mystery due to her sunglasses blocking the viewers ability to know if she is looking at, or away from us. The woman following behind her has her vision fixed down the street, focused on something that is happening outside of the frame.

There are participating venues all across the city. On view includes: “Old Women Outside A Shop” (2010) by photographer Apoorva Guptay. In the image two women can be seen walking in the street together. Behind the women, a sign reads: “strikingly beautiful”. One seems to be making direct acknowledgement with the photographer, while that part can remain a mystery due to her sunglasses blocking the viewers ability to know if she is looking at, or away from us. The woman following behind her has her vision fixed down the street, focused on something that is happening outside of the frame. What, who or where is her focus? The viewer is left to imagine what might be pulling her gaze.

In the series of photographs  "Mumbai Walk” (2007) artist Atul Bhalla Neat presents a set of scenarios from everyday life at Fotofest 2018. Multiple images, individually framed, he fragments the experience of daily encounters, and then relates them back together in a tight proximity installation of the frames alongside one another, forming a grid structure. The images depict storefronts, interior and exterior doors, accumulation of linens, among others. The images seem to suggest the duality that we all must exist in, between the internal sphere of the domestic space and the external sphere of the social space. In some instances, it is more difficult to determine which is which, suggesting that the probability for mergence between the private and social life is inevitable. The private and the public spaces are informed by and responsive to one another. Most of all, what “Mumbai Walk” depicts is the everyday quality of passing through spaces, interactions, and moments of contemplation, among others.

Detail of "Mumbai Walk” (2007). Atul Bhalla Neat. Fotofest 2018. Courtesy of: @thenameisbobbyflores


In additional to the Biennale program on view in Houston, there are also several other ways to experience or get involved. For one, there are programs open to the public through live engagement such as symposiums, other public talks given by both the artists and the curators. Additional events include events with food, literary materials, films from India, and activities developed for all ages including elementary school students. The consideration of accessible interaction for all ages is a commendable effort on the FotoFest Biennales part. There will also be a book for sale, published by Schilt Publishing (Netherlands) which includes images of the artists on view.

 

This exhibition remains on view from: March 10, 2018 until April 18, 2018. For more information including exhibition hours, additional programming, and accessibility, please refer to: http://home.fotofest.org/2018biennial/default.aspx#.Wm81bWJOmaM

 

 

 


Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.



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