A photographic exploration of India and her women in modern day Black Country and contemporary Punjab is being produced through the lens of four pioneering female photographers from the UK and India.
Marking the 70th anniversary of the partition of india from the UK the British Council’s Reimagine India is a cultural exchange programme investing in creative collaborations between art and cultural organisations in England and in India. With an award from the Arts Council, Creative Black Country, along with partner Multistory, will produce a new body of work titled Girls, Girls, Girls! for an exhibition at the Nazar Foundation’s Delhi Photo Festival in Spring 2018.
Coordinating the high profile project will be artist Ines Elsa Dalal. “We’re focusing on the representation of women in and from Indian-Punjab and will be connecting four, pioneering female photographers, two from England and two from India, with diasporic communities across Punjab and the Black Country.” comments Ines.
“I’m really pleased with how open the subject matter is; that the commissioned artists are free to work with any one in any way they choose as long as they’re portraying contemporary narratives which are representative of women. There can be an expectation to highlight a certain theme such as international projects featuring women in enterprise and while there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this I just feel that with any form of participatory practice having the freedom to not have to be prescriptive in what the photographers focus on is refreshing.”
The work aims to capture contemporary culture and lifestyle, and explore the journey women have made from the Black Country to India, and India to the Black Country. It will also investigate interesting synergies, quirks, subcultures and social behaviours unique to people and places in both countries.
Parminder Dosanjh Creative Director of CBC said: “The Black Country has one of the largest Punjabi diasporas outside of the Punjab. We have strong Indian historical roots here, in business, culture and education, but somehow we’ve disconnected from India today. We‘ve used ‘Bollywood films’ and romanticised stories about life in India as a means to connect, and sadly missed an evolution of contemporary culture. This project allows us to stimulate new conversations and reimagine India in the 21st Century.”
The Girls, Girls, Girls! project is in the exciting early planning stages with four photographers commissioned. “This part of the process is exciting to be a part of,” enthuses Ines. “We don’t know what will happen and their ideas and concepts may change along the way. Jennifer Pattison (UK) will be working on the theme of lullabies and recording audio to create sound installations alongside her photographs, Jocelyn Allen (UK) specialises in self portraiture and will be exploring working in a participatory way for the first time. Uzma Mohsin (India) is currently underpinning her concept with research in academic institutions and libraries in the Punjab, whereas Andrea Fernandas (India) prefers her work to develop from conversations and is less specific about subject matter, allowing her work to evolve organically depending on who she meets, what she encounters and themes that spark her interest in situ.”
You’ll be able to find out more about the project by following the Instagram and twitter feeds @ReimagineGirls #ReimagineGirls