The main exhibitions programme will be hosted at the State Gallery of Art, Madhapur, and includes work by Prashant Panjiar, Mohammad Rakibul Hasan and Divya Cowasji
Indian Photo Festival returns this month for its seventh edition, running from 18 November to 19 December. The festival, founded and directed by Aquin Mathews, has gone from strength to strength over the years, celebrating Indian photography across all genres. Organised in partnership with Telangana Tourism, the Government of Telangana and State Gallery of Art, the IPF is also a not-for-profit initiative of the Light Craft Foundation.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing restrictions in the region, there will be physical and digital programmes. The majority of in-person exhibitions will be showcased at the State Gallery of Art, Madhapur, and on the outer walking trail of the Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park. A collection of digital exhibitions will also show at the State Gallery of Art, while all workshops, portfolio reviews (free to photographers in India, in partnership with National Geographic), screenings and talks will be held online.
As India’s longest-running international photography festival, the event’s programme invites photographers from all over the world to participate in exhibitions, talks, screenings and workshops. That said, there is a notable focus on supporting photographers from India and the subcontinent. The Portrait Prize, for example, is open exclusively to said artists, as is the Mentorship Program. This year, the IPF has also launched an Emergency Fund to provide financial support to Indian photographers who have been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some highlights for the upcoming festival include the exhibition of the award-winning photojournalist, Prashant Panijar. Titled That Which Is Unseen, the body of work collects a series of past projects made when he was working as a photojournalist. Panijar was on the front line of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots; he has photographed the Dacoits of the Chambal region, social conflicts around India, the refugee crisis, life in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Punjab. His oeuvre is published in a new book, which will also launch at the festival.
The physical programme also includes Mohammad Rakibul Hasan’s work The Forgotten Love, about the daily struggle of transgender people in Bangladesh. He describes the project as, “a leap to explore the infinite and beautiful gradient of the representation of love; it is an attempt at redefining love beyond the gender identities and stigmas through the true reflection of their personas.”
Divya Cowasji ruminates on her family history – as well as the idea of family connection in general – exploring the stories and identities of the women in her family through their possessions. Of the project Remember Me, the photographer of Parsi-Irani-Indian heritage says, “It is my love letter to the everyday, flawed and incredible people who came before me and left indelible impressions on my being”.
This year’s Portrait of Humanity winners will also be exhibited in a group show at the main venue of the State Gallery of Art.
The digital exhibitions programme will feature the work of Shwe Wutt Hmon – one of BJP’s Ones to Watch this year, Agoes Rudianto, Ecuador-based Sombra Colectivo, Ezequiel Sambresqui and Harsha Pandav among others.
Elsewhere, a host of speakers will discuss their practice in the talks programme. These include Roger Ballen, Martin Parr, Linda Bournane Engelberth, Arati Kumar-Rao, Siva Sai Jeevanantham and many others.
Indian Photo Festival is held in Hyderabad, and runs from 18 November to 19 December
Starting out as an intern back in 2016, Izabela Radwanska Zhang is now the Editorial Director of British Journal of Photography in print and online. Her words have appeared in Disegno and Press Association. Prior to this, she completed a MA in Magazine Journalism at City University, London, and most recently, a Postgrad Certificate in Graphic Design at London College of Communication.