Cities-changing, metamorphosing and evolving over time.
Conurbations of hope desire, faith and aspiration. Chaotic and frenzied. Evidenced in congested streets, colorful bazaars, shiny skyscrapers, slums, decay and regeneration- Layer upon layer of complex structures and substructures adding up to what we call urban.
In Sublime Chaos of Cities photographers, Mala Mukerjee, Smita Barooah Sanyal and Chandan Dubey, interpret the chaos from cities around the world. Their images are studies of complex, ever changing realities of living cities - chaotic systems rife with visual noise.
The haphazard nature of the non-western city is often disparaged as a failed, incompetent construct out of tune with the times.
Yet many of us thrive in the chaos. Everyday more people demand their place in it. What is this strange attraction?
Perhaps the city is no artificial construct but a mere reflection of the chaos of the universe – a microcosm that reflects our natural being.
The city is a complex beast, often confounding its experts- the architects, planners, urbanists- and its dwellers alike. The 20th century understanding of the urban was synonymous with well-regulated and structured sprawls amenable to deconstruction and easy illustration. However, in reality, cities have little to do with such linear, simplistic models.
Just look around and see – it's the chaotic, the unpredictable, the chance meeting that gives the city its life, vibrancy and addictive pulse. Its something that 21st century urbanists have finally grown to appreciate.
Why do apparently chaotic urban systems attract people in large numbers? In the “Sublime Chaos of cities”, the three photographers explore the idea of the city, its organic, ever-changing nature and the chaos that lies at the heart of cities they love.
Mala launched her professional career in 1986. Her work has appeared in India in many publications such as Swagat, Desh, Discover India, Frontline, Insight Guide, Indian Express, Inner Eye, Namaste, Sananda, Signature, Sportstar, Times of India etc., and also abroad in the BBC Bulletin, The Cricketer and the India Weekly Journal in London ; in ‘Close Up’ sports magazine in Australia and in tourist guide titled ‘Indien’ in Germany. The cover page of the American novelist S.H. Fracis’ work titled ‘A ticket to Minto’ has one of her photographs on it.
She taught PhotOgraphy at The School, KFI, Chennai during 1986/1989. In 1990 she completed a four year Certificate and Diploma Course in Applied Art and Design Studies at the London Guildhall University. She was awarded the Art Prize by the Owen Rowley Art Foundation in London in 1993. She was among the prize winners in ‘Our Big City’ competition organized jointly by the Evening Standard Newspaper Group and Carlton TV in London in October 1993. In 1994 she was nominated for the Leopold Godowsky Jr. color photography Awards of the Photographic Resource Centre, Boston. In January 2007, The Academy of Visual Media, New Delhi, awarded Mala their “Achievement Award” for outstanding contribution to Photography.
In 2002 BLINK, a publication by the Phaidon Press, London, featured her among 100 contemporary Photographers of the world. She has conducted Workshops on Color Photography at Dhaka and Sylhet in 2003 at the invitation of Drik, Bangladesh. In 2006 Mala visited China at the invitation of the Peoples’ Republic of China to participate in a photo event titled “Xinjiang in the eyes of Chinese and Foreign photographers” and again in 2011 to attend the inaugural exhibition of the China International Photographic Gallery alliance in Lishui. She is a member of The International Alliance of Photo Galleries.
Mala has held Solo exhibitions at : Cottons Centre London 1991&1992, St.Giles Church Oxford 1993, Sakshi Gallery Bangalore 1994, Y.B.Chavan Art Gallery Mumbai 1995, B.C.D. Gallery-Mumbai 1995, Sakshi Gallery Chennai 1995, Birla Academy Art Gallery Kolkata 1995, Nehru Centre Art Gallery Mumbai 1995, The Piramal Gallery Mumbai 1996, Lalit Kala Akademi New Delhi 1997, IIC Gallery New Delhi 1998, Lalit Kala Akademi Chennai 1999, Nehru Centre Art Gallery Mumbai 1999, La galerie de l’Alliance Française de Dhaka – Bangladesh 2000, Birla Academy Art Gallery Kolkata 2001, Academy of Fine Arts Kolkata, Gallerie Zen Bangalore 2002, Nandan Gallery Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan 2002, Academy of Fine arts Kolkata 2004, Gorky Sadan- Kolkata 2004, Academy of Fine Arts Kolkata 2006, IIC Gallery New Delhi 2006, Apparao Infinity Gallery New Delhi 2007, Akar Prakar Gallery Kolkata 2007, Academy of Fine Arts Kolkata 2007, Nehru Centre Art Gallery Mumbai in 2008, Nandan Gallery Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan 2008 and Academy of Fine Art-Kolkata 2008.
Apart from several Group Shows in London during 1991/1993, Mala took part in “Women ’96”, an Art Front Group show at the Jehangir Art Gallery Mumbai and in Group exhibitions at the Nehru Centre Art Gallery Mumbai 1997, Y.B. Chavan Art Gallery Mumbai 1998, Academy of Fine Arts Calcutta 2001, Guildhall University London 2001, Cancer Foundation exhibition at Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata 2005, ‘Kolkata Festival’ of Times of India at Town Hall Kolkata 2006, AVM Photography Award 2006 at the AIFACS, New Delhi and in exhibitions organized by the Chinese Embassy in 2007 at the Birla Academy Art Gallery, Kolkata, & Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, in “The Four Seasons in Xinjiang Photo Exhibition” organised by The Chinese Photographic Association in Beijing in March 2007 , Birla Academy Art Gallery in April 2009, ‘Urban India through the lens” at Habitat Centre in Sept 2009, International Artists Exhibition, Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2010, the 44th Annual Exhibition at Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata in January 2011, International exhibition titled ‘One Nest’ at Birla Academy of Art and Culture in October 2011 which she also organized and curated, and at the Photography Museum of China at Lishui in November 2011.
Her work has been acquired by many Institutional collectors such as : Alliance Française de Dhaka, Archives of Centre For Photography As An Art Form at NCPA Mumbai, Archives of Metropolitan University London, India International Centre, New Delhi, JBNSTS, Kolkata and by Corporate bodies such as ABN Amro Bank Mumbai, Alliance Capital Inc, New York, Apcon Ltd Chennai, Carborandum Universal, Chennai, Delhi Development Authority, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, ICI Ltd Mumbai, ICICI Bank, Indian Oil Corpn. Kolkata, Office of the C & A.G New Delhi, Ministry of External Affairs New Delhi, Quality Audit & Services, Kolkata, Standard Chartered Bank Mumbai and Wooltop Weaves Pte Ltd., Chennai.
Her work is presently on display at www.malaphotogallery.com
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Smita Barooah Sanyal
|The Aftermath 1|
She has exhibited her work in some of Asia’s most prestigious galleries including Sunjin Galleries (Singapore), Art Mosaic at the Ministry of Culture (MICA, Singapore), The Fringe Club Fotogallerie (Hongkong), Tullika Arts (Mumbai), the Birla Academy (Kolkata) and The Experimental Arts Gallery (IHC, Delhi).
Her first book was published by Roli in 2007 and her second book on the problems of addiction is due to be published soon. She has spent many years working with recovering addicts in Singapore.
Smita has a BA and a MA from Delhi University (Lady Shri Ram College) and a Specialist Diploma in Counseling from ACC Singapore.
|The Chaos Outside|
She currently lives and works in Singapore where she looks for color and chaos amidst the order. She moved there from the boom-town of Gurgaon, which was a vantage point to focus on beautiful elements isolated out of the visual chaos of a country in rapid transition.
“Portals” February/March 2004-solo exhibition at Sunjin Galleries, Singapore
|Parking in Philadelphia|
“Portals” November 2005-solo exhibition at Tullika Art Gallery, Mumbai
“Transience” January 2006- group exhibition, Fourth Floor Gallery, Mumbai
Group exhibition in May 2007 organised by INTACH , Delhi
‘Emerging Talent” July 2007-group exhibition at Sunjin Galleries, Singapore
“Frozen in Time” March 2008-joint exhibition with photographer Sam Kumar at Art Mosaic Gallery at Ministry of Information, Communication & The Arts, Singapore
“Mundane” April 2009- joint exhibition with Mala Mukerjee and Suporno Banerjee at Birla Academy of Arts and Culture, Kolkata
“Card-o-logy” September 2009- group exhibition at Hacienda Gallery, Mumbai
“Urban India Through The Lens” September 2009- joint exhibition with Mala Mukerjee and Chandan Dubey at India Habitat Centre, Delhi (as part of the Urban Habitats Summit 2009
“Mundane” March 2010- solo exhibition at The Experimental Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, Delhi
Series “Women at work” featured in New Internationalist Magazine.
Book covers for Penguin (India) and World Scientific (Singapore).
Workshop for Make-A-Wish-Foundation, Singapore.
Photography workshop and contest for Deutsche Bank, Singapore.
Official photographer for Rituchakra and Dew Essence, Singapore.
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She started her career as a journalist with the Times of India Group in 1997. She has worked with the The Asian Age and Indian Express Group subsequently. She has been freelancing for a variety of national and international publications since 2000.
Chandan has exhibited in galleries in Hong Kong and India. Her work has been published in national publications such as India Today, Economic Times and Mid Day, as well as international publications such as Art Asia Pacific, the South China Morning Post and Time out Hong Kong.
She has collaborated with established artists and photographers from India and Hong Kong for exhibitions and travel projects.
Chandan has an MA in Economics from the Banaras Hindu University, a Mass Communications Diploma from the SNDT University Mumbai and a Professional certification in Art Curatorship and Art History from the Hong Kong Art School (2008).
|Central Market, Hongkong|
Originally from Varanasi, Chandan moved back to Mumbai recently after spending ten years in Singapore and Hong Kong. Lines, textures and form of urban architecture motivate her work. Urban sprawl and developmental issues therein are very close to her heart.
“Urban India Through The Lens” September 2009- joint exhibition with Mala Mukerjee and Smita Barooah Sanyal at India Habitat Centre, Delhi (as part of the Urban Habitats Summit 2009).
Desi- an object based community project dealing with issues of migration and identity, at the Hong Kong Art School – May 2008
“Blue” , Travel photography exhibition at Chiu’s Gallery, Hong Kong – July 2005-Dec 2005.
“Portals” March 2005- joint exhibition at, Fringe Club Fotogalerie, Hong Kong.
“Indochina diary”, a photo essay on Buddhist iconography at Meli Melo Arts Foundation, Hong Kong in 2002.
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