WICHITA, KS.- The Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University
presents an exhibition of contemporary photography from India in which artists reinterpret the history of colonialism in their country. POSTDATE: Photography and Inherited History in India, on view September 12 through December 13, 2015, showcases the work of nine contemporary Indian artists that are breaking ground, taking history into their own hands, and redefining historical representations of India through image-making. Previously exhibited at the San Jose Museum of Art, where it received national recognition for being the greatest Indian art exhibition this spring, POSTDATE explores many complicated themes.
Drawing inspiration from diverse sources such as early 20th-century hand-painted studio portraits, archaeological surveys created by the East India Company, and Bollywood film stills, these artists reconstruct historical iconic images of India and challenge the exoticized portrayal that has traditionally represented the country. POSTDATE includes more than 50 photographs as well as several videos and installation works. The exhibition features internationally renowned artists such as Gauri Gill, Jitish Kallat, and Vivan Sundaram. Also included are works by Raqs Media Collective, Nandan Ghiya, Pushpamala N., Madhuban Mitra and Manas Bhattacharya, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, and Surekha.
Photography was established commercially and artistically in India by the 1850s at the height of the British Occupation. Driven by British colonials and their compatriots perceptions of India as a foreign and exotic land, photographers (both British and Indian) focused their lenses on indigenous populations and customs; architecture and monuments; and street scenes and landscapes. Thus, historical depictions often captured images such as the Taj Mahal, decorated elephants carrying British officers, and women adorned in colorful saris walking the desert landscape.
Aware of such historical misrepresentations, the artists in POSTDATE reclaim history by challenging outdated narratives, revealing hidden stories, and making personal connections with tradition while experimenting with innovative digital photographic processes, said Jodi Throckmorton, curator of contemporary art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and guest curator of the exhibition. POSTDATE not only deepens our understanding of the history of photography, but celebrates new and socially engaged modes of image-making in South Asia.
POSTDATE was organized collaboratively by the San Jose Museum of Art and the Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas, and is made possible by the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Kaushie Adiseshan and Anand Rajaraman, Tad Freese, Mike and Yvonne Nevens, and Dipti and Rakesh Mathur.