As We See Us

Venue The Adil Shah Palace

What is a portrait? As We See Us, curated by Dinesh Khanna, explores the vibrant multiplicity and infinite configurations of what it means to depict a person, a thing, or oneself in the context of Indian portrait photography.

Before the advent of photography, before the possibility of the casual or candid portrait was unlocked by this medium, portraiture signified a set of serious choices made by the painter, the poet or the chronicler. Portraits from this time were laced with aesthetic preferences, symbology, and embellishments that hinted at larger systems of thought as well as societal preferences and prejudices. Portraiture became a powerful medium for any society’s “gaze” to manifest.

India’s complex history, most recently our centuries long tryst with colonialism, has left us with messy and tangled inheritance that deeply permeates our visual culture. As We See Us explores the work of 34 Indian photographers to see how contemporary Indian portrait photography deals with this inheritance – how it uses, manipulates, mutates, celebrates, protests or ignores ideas of what portraiture should be. This exhibition is about how Indians chose to portray themselves and begs the question, “is there such a thing as the Indian Gaze?”

The photographers involved in the project are: Aparna Mohindra, Kavita C Dixit, Udit Kulshrestha, Azra Sadr, Amruta Dhavale, Arjun Kartha, Sharmistha Dutta, Anita Khemka, Kannagi Khanna, Navtej Singh, Manu Yadav, Chandan Khanna, Neeraj Priyadarshi, Abhinav Anguria, Rafique Sayed, Neeraj Mahajan, Amit Mehra, Adil Hasan, Cop Shiva, Chandan Gomes, Altaf Qadri, Vinay Tripathi, Nirvair Singh, Manoj Jadhav, Anshika Varma, Manoj Kumar Jain, Mahesh Bhat, Mahesh Shantaram, Ritesh Uttamchandani, Ashish Chawla, Anusha Yadav, Raj Lalwani and Ishan Tankha.

  • Visual Arts