Water Series:  Three Sisters , Jehangir Tarapore, 1920

Water Series: Three Sisters, Jehangir Tarapore, 1920

Sacrifice,  Pestonji S Batliwala, 1920

Sacrifice, Pestonji S Batliwala, 1920

Pictorial Photography in Bombay at the Turn of the Century
Delivered by Dr. Jyotindra Jain

Moderated by Shukla Sawant

Saturday, 9 November 2019 | 6 pm onwards

Seminar Rooms 1,2 & 3, Kamaladevi Complex,
India International Centre
40 Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi 110003

Do join us for tea at 6 PM. Lecture to start at 6:30 PM.

FICA, in collaboration with IIC, is pleased to invite you to the Annual Ila Dalmia Memorial Lecture 2019, titled Pictorialist Photography in Bombay at the Turn of the Century to be presented by Dr. Jyotindra Jain. The session will be moderated by Shukla Sawant.

The Lecture is presented in conjunction with The Ila Dalmia FICA Research Grant, an annual grant given towards research in the field of modern and contemporary art with particular focus on Indian art. Both these platforms are supported by art historian Yashodhara Dalmia.

The Lecture will bring to light the long-standing research that Dr. Jyotindra Jain has been conducting, on the Pictorialist movement within Photography, the first of its kind to take an organised form in late-19th to early-20th century Bombay, that can be seen in conversation with parallel developments with regards to vanguard movements in Western photography.

Pictorialism brought a well-defined aesthetic agenda to Europe and America in the 1890s. With a multi-faceted approach that fostered a critical framing of photography as art, Pictorialism moved to further considerations on and around the medium beyond its employment as a mere tool of documentation. Having its own manifestos and membership societies, evaluative discourses, specialised journals, art galleries, and curated exhibitions, the movement thrived until the early 20th century.

Direct reverberations of Western pictorialist trends came to be reflected strongly in photographic practices in Mumbai almost during the same period. However, it must be clarified that unlike the West, pictorialist practices of photographers in Mumbai took a different turn in the wake of new aesthetic currents, stemming from developments in the city’s prolific theatre scene - especially Parsee and Gujarati theatre - and came to include influences from contemporary fashion, lessons from the colonial art schools, cinema, and the stylistic impact of Art Deco and Art Nouveau in architecture and the visual arts.

This illustrated talk will bring into focus the work of the well-known photographer Shapoor N. Bhedwar, and also of the practices of others who legitimised the medium as an “art form”, predicated upon the aesthetics of fantasy and performativity.

About the Speaker:

Jyotindra Jain, formerly Director of the National Crafts Museum; Professor and Dean at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU); and Member Secretary of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, all New Delhi, was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University and a Rudolf-Arnheim Professor of Humboldt University, Berlin. An eminent scholar of Indian art and popular visual culture, Jain has extensively published in the areas of his specialisation, and curated exhibitions shown in some of the most distinguished cultural institutions and museums in India and abroad.

A recipient of the Prince Claus Award for Culture of the Netherlands in 1998 and the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2018, presently he is a Member of the International Advisory of the Humboldt Forum, a multi-arts complex in Berlin; a Tagore National Fellow; and Co-Editor of Marg Publications, Mumbai.

This particular lecture is a work in progress on “Pictorialist Photography in Bombay at the Turn of the Century” under the auspices of the Tagore National Fellowship awarded to Prof. Jain by the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India

About the Moderator:

Shukla Sawant is a visual artist and Professor of Visual Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she has taught since 2001. She is also currently visiting faculty at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai. Prior to joining JNU, Shukla Sawant taught for twelve years at the Department of Fine Arts and Art Education Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi. After graduating in painting from the College of Art, New Delhi she specialized in printmaking at the École Nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and later went to the Slade School of Art and Center for Theoretical Studies, London on a Commonwealth grant. Her research interests include Modern and Contemporary Art, Art in Colonial India, Photography, Printmaking and New Media.