This landmark exhibition, Whitechapel’s first major show of 2010, is an unprecedented survey of South Asian photographers and how modern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have been shaped through their lenses. Historic early photographs from the important Drik Collection in Bangladesh and the Alkazi Collection in Delhi are given a rare platform on the world stage, while images from private, familial records will be seen for the very first time. The exhibition includes over 300 works by more than 50 artists.
From the days when the first Indian-run photographic studios were established in the 19th century, this exhibition tells the story of photography’s development in the subcontinent with over 400 works that have been brought together for the first time. It encompasses social realism and reportage of key political moments in the 1940s, amateur snaps from the 1960s and street photography from the 1970s. Contemporary photographs reveal the reality of everyday life, while the recent digitalisation of image making accelerates its cross-over with fashion and film.
The exhibition is arranged over five themes with works selected from the last 150 years. The Portrait shows the evolution of self-representation; The Family explores close bonds and relationships through early hand-painted and contemporary portraits; The Body Politic charts political moments, movements and campaigns; The Performance focuses on the golden age of Bollywood, circus performers and artistic practices that engage with masquerade; while The Street looks at the built environment, social documentary and street photography.
Over 70 photographers including Pushpamala N., Rashid Rana, Dayanita Singh, Raghubir Singh, Umrao Singh Sher-Gil, Rashid Talukder, Ayesha Vellani and Munem Wasif are presented in the show, with works drawn from important collections of historic photography, including the influential Alkazi Collection, Delhiand the Drik Archive, Dhaka. They join many previously unseen images from private family archives, galleries, individuals and works by leading contemporary artists.
This exhibition is taking place in Galleries 1, 8 & 9 at the Whitechapel Gallery from 21st January – 11th April 2010. The nearest tube stations are Aldgate and Aldgate East. Tickets are £8.50 with a £6.50 concession price and it is free on Sundays from 11am-1pm.