Indian Photographies
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Visual Culture in the Subcontinent
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Interview | Eye of the beholder: Pushpamala N

Interview | Eye of the beholder: Pushpamala N | Indian Photographies |

"Pushpamala N (born in 1965) is a Bangalore based photography and video performance artist. Starting out as a sculptor with an interest in narrative figuration, Pushpamala N eventually took to casting her own body as various characters and personae in the medium of photo-performance. Interested in exploring photography as a medium of narrative fiction, she drew heavily from the history and traditions of cinema for her work. Recently she has also been using experimental short films, live performances and sculptural tableaux to explore the ideas that fascinate her. In this interview she talks about the synergy between movies and photographs, takes us into the fantastical and intriguing world of her art, discusses her work and traces its roots in cinema, explains her oeuvre that stands firmly in the middle-ground between film and photography and tells us that, in India, cinema and photography both created and recorded the country’s modernity."


Photograph by Pushpamal N | The Big Indian Picture

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News | Exhibition by photographer-artist Sunil Gupta gets called off after individual lodges complaint, Alliance Française keeps mum

News | Exhibition by photographer-artist Sunil Gupta gets called off after individual lodges complaint, Alliance Française keeps mum | Indian Photographies |

"Artists and thinkers have expressed shock at the sudden cancellation of photographer and artist Sunil Gupta’s solo exhibition titled Sun City & Other Stories in the Capital. The exhibition, originally a project commissioned by Centre Pompidou depicting a love affair, was shut down on Saturday, 24 March, just a day after its preview show at Galerie Romain Rolland at Alliance Française.

Photographer Ram Rahman, who was present at the preview, questioned the lack of clarity on the part of Alliance Francaise regarding an event of such momentous significance. “It’s an issue concerning freedom of expression and the French institution has not elaborated on the grounds on which they have stopped the show,” he said.

A statement issued by the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) further pointed out that if well-regarded institutions like Alliance Française wilt under the pressure of a single individual and do not support creative expression, they are not in a position to enjoy the patronage of the art community. In the signed statement artist and activists, Ram Rahman, Geeta Kapur, Vivan Sundaram and Indira Chandrasekhar said they were “shocked to learn that the exhibition of photographs by Sunil Gupta was shut down shortly and they wanted Alliance Française to publicly clarify if they were ordered to shut down the exhibition”...


Photograph by Sunil Gupta, Article by Sushmita Saha on Tehelka.

khicṛī's comment, April 16, 2012 1:17 AM
« This is a statement issued by the Alliance Francaise de Delhi, in consultation with the President of the Alliance Francaise (Delhi) and the Cultural Committee of the Governing Body, following the premature and undue closure of the photographic exhibition by Sunil Gupta entitled Sun City and Other Stories.
To begin with, we would like to assert that ever since it was established, the Alliance Francaise has always supported and endorsed cultural activities associated with the Freedom of Speech and Expression. It was in this spirit that we offered and used our institutional resources to organise the mentioned exhibition by well-known photographer and artist, Sunil Gupta.
The exhibition was in fact inaugurated at 7.30pm on Friday, 23 March 2012 and was attended by over a hundred persons, including a cross-section of important personalities and luminaries. However, within two hours of its opening, a contingent of six policemen entered the gallery premises and insisted that the exhibition be closed. It was later intimated that the exhibition was in violation of Sections 188 and 292 of the Indian Penal Code.
The Alliance Francaise used available means to resolve the matter and continue with the show. However, on continued persistence from the police, the Alliance was compelled to close the exhibition, which was done under duress and protest in the presence of the artist.
Following this unfortunate episode, because the Alliance believed it should still support the freedom of artistic expression, consulted the artist and its President, and decided to re-open the exhibition on Wednesday, 4 April 2012. The Alliance, therefore, re-fabricated the exhibition again at significant expense and even provided for additional security measures. However, prior to the second opening, a similar pattern ensued with intimation from the police that they would not permit the exhibition in its original form as they were bound to receive complaints and agitations regarding the nature of the exhibition. At this point, to avoid any further controversy or damage to the artwork and premises, the re-opening was cancelled. It is pertinent to point out that even though the police had publicly stated that the content of the exhibition was not objectionable or unlawful, their verbal direction to the Alliance was to the contrary and was the governing factor in the decision to cancel the show.
We would like to re-state that the Alliance firmly believes in the Freedom of Expression. However, as a cultural institution, it has to be mindful of local cultural sensitivities. While it does not accept the conclusion of the police - that the content of the exhibition is obscene - the Alliance was constrained to adhere to the directions of the police. In addition, even though the legality of the police action is questionable, their intimidatory tactics on both occasions sufficiently justify the Alliance Française decisions.

The Alliance Francaise has taken this time to gather the necessary information regarding what has happened, and to seek legal advice to get clarity on its rights and duties so that such unfortunate situations are avoided in the future. We hope that you appreciate the difficult and unprecedented position the Alliance was placed in and the steps that are now being taken to preserve the integrity of art and culture in India by this institution.

Governing Body of Alliance Francaise De Delhi."
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Book Review | 'A Family Portrait', Akshay Mahajan on Kushal Ray's photo novel 'Intimacies'

Book Review | 'A Family Portrait', Akshay Mahajan on Kushal Ray's photo novel 'Intimacies' | Indian Photographies |

'Young wavering photojournalists, such as myself, often go in search of pictures with a sometimes wanton thirst. They move cities, living their days out of cheap bus-stand lodges or friends’ apartments, and nights drinking outside cheap bars on Church Street. Anything that provokes a narrative. They probably think that like Nan Goldin, they’ll make pictures representing the transgressions of young urban dwellers. Faltering, perhaps they’ll meet a young queer poet and dance writer and find a subject. Over the next six months — furtive conversations over cheap whiskey at watering holes, words punctuated by drags of cigarettes and post-ganja confessions in bedrooms — they will take pictures of their friends, teasing out nuggets of a story. Rolls of film fed by curiosity. As Goldin put it, “It’s the form of photography that is most defined by love. People… take them to remember people”. This love is born out of a long-standing relationship between the observer and the subject.


On the face of it, Kushal Ray’s Intimacies is a series that could be seen as a representation of domestic decline, even a “human catastrophe”. Critiques of Ray’s photographs as an episodic representation of the decline in Kolkata’s middle class, the 12-room, family home of the Chatterjees, seem to encapsulate the slow withering of a joint family. They see Ray’s interiors as a metaphor for the politics that aims to unmask the accident of poverty. Perhaps, even a representation of his working class family’s poverty and violence; stages of personal degradation and suffering...'


Text by Akshay Mahajan | Tehelka

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