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Posted 19.01.18

Mohini Chandra selected to exhibit at FotoFest Biennial, Houston

By Kat Peberdy

‘Kikau Street’ (2016/2017) from Mohini Chandra

The FotoFest 2018 Biennial in Houston is preparing what it describes as one of the largest exhibitions of contemporary photography by artists of Indian origin ever presented in the US.

The exhibition promises to take visitors on a photographic journey through one of the most diverse, populous, and rapidly changing countries in the world. Lead curator Sunil Gupta and FotoFest executive director Steven Evans traveled throughout India and across the globe conducting portfolio reviews and face-to-face meetings with more than 100 artists to find the right group.

Mohini Chandra, Programme Leader on our BA (Hons) Photography course, is one of the select 47 artists chosen to exhibit this year. The work presented for this exhibition by Mohini is titled ‘Kikau Street’, comprises of a three-screen video piece, and was supported by the Australia Council.

Mohini explains, “As part of my ongoing project ‘Paradise Lost’, in ‘Kikau Street’ I explore the complexity of cross-cultural ideas, memories and experiences of the Pacific. Indian migrants, including my ancestors, first arrived in Fiji as indentured labourers during the colonial period."

“Here within an increasingly globalized Asia-Pacific, cultures become hybridized, implying a process of change and uncertainty, encompassing the experiences of migration and diaspora, as well as contemporary struggles around belonging and identity.”

Mohini Chandra filming in Varanasi, India

Mohini’s work on the international flows of people and culture in our globalised world has previously exhibited in venues such as the Asia Society and Museum (New York), the Queens Museum (New York), the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Whitechapel Art Gallery, the Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne) as well as the First Johannesburg Biennale, Photo Kathmandu (Nepal) and in ‘Now! Now!’ at Chelsea College of Art (presented by Iniva and BAM).

Lead curator Sunil Gupta said in a statement “The artists, all of Indian origin, are imagining and responding to what India means today in its myriad complexities, given its ancient culture and more recent emancipation from British colonialism”. The participants address a number of important issues facing contemporary India, he noted, including caste and class, gender, sexuality, religion, nationalism, and technological development.

Over 100 independent museums, art galleries and non-profit art spaces will also participate in the FotoFest 2018 Biennial by presenting photography and photography events during the festival’s six weeks. Among these spaces are the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, who will present an exhibition by highly acclaimed Indian photographer Raghubir Singh; and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, which is presenting the collaborative work of Sunil Gupta and his artistic partner Charan Singh.

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