Joshua Muyiwa writes about the latest issue of PIX, Personal Paradigms on Firstpost.com.
Excerpts from the article:
In a way, this eighteenth issue of PIX reminds us that this undertaking: of writing and rewriting history (both individual and institutional) aren’t contemporary activities at all. Rather, they have always existed in the ways that people recorded and archived themselves, their own stories, and editorialising actually took place within the private sphere of the family. And this can be seen in the many essays that delve into family albums to tell a story of personhoods but also publicness.
In putting together these bodies of photographic work in this issue of PIX’s Personal Paradigms, the editorial team does allow for the reading that everything isn’t as it is: that the simple act of recovering deeply-buried family albums can topple truths. It demonstrates that actions done in the private domain can change the public sphere, or at least introduce it as a topic of conversation. Especially in a time when the government is forcing us to produce a document that proves we belong, that this is our home. This edition of the quarterly then poses these questions: What do family photo albums count for? What do they reveal about us? What can they tell of the ways we have always related to one another? What of the ways we have wanted to relate to each other? (We could assign them with values of good or bad, but maybe leaving them at the level of action might produce something else?)
In the traditional sense, families are permanent or fixed units, and yet, through growing associations, we find that they are also evolving – riddled with secrets, new discoveries and myriad forms of coded expression around kinship. Both, from one’s own self and the selves of one’s “other/s” – our personal paradigm and place provokes us to reflect in broader terms – on the question of external affiliation and belonging, on tangible links to collective histories and identities, on the evidentiary potential of memory, and on the meaning of self-representation and its intimacies.
ARTISTS: Anu Kumar, Harikrishna Katragadda and Shweta Upadhyay, Joel Fernando, Kannagi Khanna, Lucero Alomia, Priyadarshini Ravichandran, Pradeep Kapoor, Rajyashri Goody, Rohith Krishnan, Sandeep TK, Sarah Ainslie, Srinivas Kuruganti, Uma Bista, Yashna Kaul
TEXTS: Aditya Kapoor, Anisha Baid, Deepali Dewan, Ellen Berry,Gayatri Gopinath, Jordache A. Ellapen, Joseph Lubitz and Chinar Shah, Lina Vincent, Mallika Leuzinger, Parvati Nair, Skye Arundhati Thomas, Suresh Jayaram, Thy Phu, Zainab Mufti
INTERVIEWS: Akshay Mahajan, Alakananda Nag, Anita Khemka and Imran Kokiloo, Leonie Broekstra, Philippe Calia, Pradeep Kapoor and Aditya Kapoor
PIX Team for the Issue
Managing Editor: Rahaab Allana
Photo Editorial: Tanvi Mishra and Philippe Calia
Editorial: Nandita Jaishankar
Design Concept and Cover Design: Sukanya Baskar
Editorial Assistant and Design Development: Anisha Baid
Intern: Zainab Mufti
Supported by MurthyNAYAK Foundation
PIX Exhibition in Jaipur
Like the versatile ellipsis, the works on display here—word and image—elude and bridge past and present, rhetoric and fantasy. As a global, intricate language, photography’s prophetic power today has activated discourses around allegory and objectivity. Not merely illustrative, the ‘signature’ of image-making is therefore imagined through numerous collisions in this three-part exhibition: poetry, prose, and images invoked from or published in PIX, a platform for South Asian practitioners now in its tenth year; the archives of photographer-king Sawai Ram Singh II of Jaipur; and the contemporary composites of Nandan Ghiya, whose practice reconsiders aesthetic relationships to authorship through emergent, digital iconographies.
Opens: 15th February, 2019 @ 5pm
On view: 16th February – 30th April, 2019
Time: 11am – 7pm (closed on Mondays and public holidays)
Lead Curator: Rahaab Allana
Creative Collaborator: Nandita Jaishankar
Design and Scenography: Pallavi Arora, Sudeep Chaudhuri
Project Assistant: Anandi Mehra
Abhijit Nandi, Ali Nadjian and Ramyar Manouchehrzadeh, Amber Hammad, Amit Sheokand, Ankit Goyal, Anupam Diwan, Aung Khin Myint, Azadeh Akhlaghi, Babak Kazemi, Chandan Gomes, Mayco Naing, Karan Shrestha, Karthik Subramanian, Maja Weyermann, Manish Paudel, Mujaheda Khowajazada, Muvindu Binoy, Nandan Ghiya, Sukanya Ghosh, Malcolm Hutcheson,
Pallon Daruwala, Pargol E.Naloo, Rajan Shrestha, Rasel Chowdhury, Ravikumar Kashi, Rohan Thapa, Ronny Sen
Shovan Gandhi, Sudeep Balla, Sumit Dayal, Tooraj Khamenezadeh, Uzma Mohsin, Zishaan A. Latif
Ambarish Satwik, Deepanjana Pal, Janice Pariat, Karthika Naïr
Nandita Jaishankar, Neel Chaudhuri, Prawin Adhikari
Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Rosalyn D’Mello, Saskya Jain, Scherezade Siobhan, Shahidul Alam, Shakila Azizzada (trans. Mimi Khalavati), Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Vivek Narayanan, Zahid R. Chaudhary, Aveek Sen
This exhibition is supported by:
Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust
Alkazi Foundation for the Arts
With special thanks to the PIX Team/Supporters:
Tanvi Mishra, Philippe Calia, LUCIDA, Kaushik Ramaswamy, Akhsay Mahajan, Arnav Adhikari, Goethe institute, Pro Helvetia, Raza Fooundation, Institute Francais
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2212625242134297/?event_time_id=2212625245467630
By Tejal Pandey, originally published in The Hindu on 1/8/18
Photo quarterly PIX’s student issue explores the role of student, teacher and school in contemporary times
‘Here come real stars to fill the upper skies, And here on earth come emulating flies’. These lines from Robert Frost’s poem ‘Fireflies in the Garden’ are what inspired Chattisgarh born photographer Anupam Diwan to go looking for things “which glow in the dark”. What follows are surreal images of a statue bathed in neon blue and a swarm of fireflies lighting up the night sky. Kolkata photographer Swastik Pal borrows the title of Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide to document the last inhabitants of the sinking Ghoramara Island in the Sunderbans. Manish Paudel, from Birgunj, Nepal makes frames resembling abstract textured forms from close-up shots of labourer’s bodies while Mumbai based photographer Aishwarya Arumbakkam’s work, rooted in Khasi myth, is delicately constructed photo fiction. These works are part of 13 projects featured in The Student Issue (TSI) by PIX, a collective that thematically focuses on contemporary photography and writing emerging from India and South Asia. Of these, two will be presented this evening, following a panel discussion on pedagogy and practice, where PIX member Philippe Kalia will be in conversation with art critic and curators Girish Shahane and Gadihoke and photo artist Riti Sengupta.
Each work, created either as a student project or during a workshop, travels beyond photography, looking at myth, history, memory and montage to tell its story. It’s enough proof that photography today is a medium that operates on multi-disciplinary levels, borrowing from myriad resources. Keeping in mind photography’s changes in approach and practice, PIX in its latest volume gives the medium its corner for study, debate and dialogue. Supporting the photowork by the 13 emerging artists made across India, Bangladesh and Nepal are essays and interviews with noted names like Dayanita Singh, Shahidul Alam, Gayatri Sinha, Sabeena Gadihoke and Riyas Komu, to name a few. These explore the various tenets of photo education. Establishing crucial contexts, through which the volume finds its tenor, are pieces by members of PIX’s editorial team.
Co-designer on the issue, Sukanya Baskar — who earlier designed Witness — a photobook tracing Kashmir’s history, while studying graphic design at the NID, Ahmedabad – relates how the initial thought behind the design was to give it a “scholastic tone”. Like Baskar, every individual featured in TSI, is either currently teaching or has studied at one of the several schools the issue scrutinises, for its teaching methodologies and approaches. But one asks, does photography need centres of formal education? If so why, and what would these entail?
Understanding the medium
“The university remains perhaps the most important, radical place to exercise the freedom of expression and question notions around ethics, authenticity, originality and voice,” expresses Rahaab Allana, editor of PIX. The idea behind the issue evolved from a two day closed-door conclave, ‘Deliberating Photography Education in India’ at the National Institute of Design’s (NID) Gandhinagar campus, in April 2017. Allana shares how devising a format of interacting with teachers, students and known professional about their experiences, helped give the team at PIX “an entry point into [understanding] pedagogical strains and structures.”
From emphasising the importance of the history of photography, to learning how to frame an image, the featured voices stress on self reflection, conceptual learning and cognizance that come from familiarity to literature, cinema and other art practices beyond photography. While Sharbendu De, visiting faculty for photojournalism and documentary photography at AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, encourages self-expression in his students, working issues like depression and body image complexes into photographic projects, Anita Khemka, Photography HOD of the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts & Communication (SACAC) shares how her students made self-portraits inspired by the works of Franz Kafka, Salvador Dali and Man Ray. Kalia, a photographer is also a co-founder of photo book collective BIND eggs students to turn to photobooks, libraries and museums as rich resources “…to do research, to observe, discover, develop their visual culture and tastes.” Just like the proverb – one learns painting at the museum, Kalia’s contention is that “one learns photography at the library”.