The Photographers Gallery
One of the struggles of being a creative interested in a certain topic for a project, is finding the perfect or most suited exhibitions as research. However personally I feel that finding exhibitions in London, a city that is ‘multicultural’ and ‘diverse’, for inspiration for my work is rather difficult; especially being a Tamil artist who’s work is constantly influenced by Tamil or south Asian culture. This is why before lockdown struck and as soon as these exhibitions by south Asian artists were available to view, I made sure to go and check them out and it was definitely worth it.
Sunil Gupta is a UK based photographer behind the exhibition, From Here to Eternity: A Retrospective, which centres around “issues as family, race, migration and the complexities and taboos of sexuality and homosexual life”. This particular exhibition brings together various pieces from his diverging and extensive career since the 1970s’; pieces that are “inspirational to generations of photographic activists and LGBTQ+ rights campaigners”.
However I was most drawn to this singular image of female family members, wearing traditional south Asian clothing. From the pose to the facial expression and settings, it remind me of the very few photos my parents have left my grandparents. Whilst giving me feelings of nostalgia, it’s brought back memories of conversations about history and heritage.
Despite seeing Gupta’s incredible work, I was more excited by the work of Vasantha Yogananthan, which was “inspired by the Indian legend of The Ramayana, A Myth of Two Souls (2013-2021)”. His exhibitionAMMA which translate to ‘Mother’ in Tamil is the final part of Yogananthan’s ambitious project. This final chapter and imagery take us from the Sri Lankan coast to Ayodhya City and jungle of Bihar, India.
Yogananthan’s imagery for this chapter are composed with analogue, using large or medium format cameras; which are then printed and layered with colour prints hand-painted by the artist with inks and acrylic gouache. Through his artist practice, he is coming a more westernised way of working/ creating with more traditional documentary photographer - this way of working is similar my own but i was to his take on Tamil culture as it is very individualistic.
These exhibitions are available until January 2021.
All quotes from the photographers gallery