A group of gentlemen in a state of metamorphosis, circa 2175 AD
On thursday evening, if you drop in at Sakshi Gallery, you'll find yourself staring at 15 wooden frames holding obscure, pixelated artworks mounted on its walls. Look closer amidst the hand-painted and deconstructed layers of cubes and pixels and you will spot a number of vintage studio portraits. Captured sometime between 1940s and '50s, these photographs feature Indians from different social strata and communities. There's a Parsi gentleman seated in deep contemplation. Another frame holds a sari-clad Marwari woman, and in a corner, you will find a group of gentlemen dressed in black coats and hats — all with their faces blurred.
These unique works are part of Jaipur-based artist Nandan Ghiya's solo, Studio Portraits From The 22nd Century, held in collaboration with Exhibit 320, New Delhi, and as part of the third edition of Focus Photography Festival, which commences on March 9. The artist returns to the city after presenting a solo back in 2006.
A Marwari lady camouflaged on a bluescreen, circa 2148
The exhibition showcases a transition from vintage to the digital world by juxtaposing the virtual and real elements in the works with deliberate obliteration using pixels.
The 36-year-old self-taught artist, who believes pixel is the atom of the 21st century, says, "The works are part of an ongoing project called deFacebook that I started in 2010. The idea came from looking at censored pixelated faces on TV news channels. Today, every image [including these portraits] is a collection of pixels merged together. These works are a reflection, homage and critique to what is becoming of us," shares Ghiya, who grew up in a family of studio photographers and hence, decided to use portraits in his oeuvre.
A couple meeting/separating on a photoshop screen, circa 2102
The artist sourced the portraits from many cities. "I found them at pawn shops, vintage shops and flea markets. The idea is to ensure that these portraits, which are remnants of our heritage, don't just become museum pieces or redundant junk. However pixelated or distorted they may seem, we still retain some of our older, indigenous selves," he sums up.
FROM: March 9 (6.30 pm to 9.30 pm) To April 8 TIME 11 am to 7 pm
AT: Sakshi Gallery, 6/19, Grants Building, Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba.