18th September 2020
The webinar will be held on the online platform Zoom. To register for the webinar please click on the link below:
About the book:
Soumya Sankar Bose’s ‘Where the Birds Never Sing’ is a body of work on the Marichjhapi massacre, the forcible eviction in 1979 of Bengali refugees on Marichjhapi Island in Sundarban, West Bengal, and the subsequent death of thousands by police gunfire, starvation, and disease.
This Project is supported by The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art(Amol Vadehra Art Grant), India foundation for the Arts, Magnum Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation & World Press Photo.
About the artist:
Soumya Sankar Bose is an independent documentary photographer, born and brought up in Midnapore, West Bengal India. His long term project on retired Jatra artistes had been funded by India Foundation for the Arts. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Caravan, The Huffington Post, BBC, The Indian Express, The Telegraph, NPR and many more .
Bose’s work “Let’s Sing an Old Song” explores concepts of nostalgia, modernity, performativity and the transformation of art in a changing world, his work both creates and documents reality. His portraits of Jatra artists are staged spectacles that evoke not only the tragedy of this waning tradition, but also those of its practitioners. Using photography as a performative medium rather than documentary tool, Bose brings an original approach to an often photographically explored space of dying art form in India.
Immersing the viewer in a surreal universe is crucial to Bose’s project “Full moon on a Dark Night.” By way of those portraits, Bose conducts a psychological exploration of a community of individuals who have been relentlessly persecuted by society because of their identities and their gender or sexual orientations. The work looks closely at the LGBT community in eastern India through a fantastical lens, often projecting a world devoid of restrictive laws and social taboos that the community regularly comes up against. Other images in the work are responses to these very constraints imposed by the state and society. It is here that Bose makes use of visual metaphors—a gas mask, a tiger in the wild, a choppy sea engulfing a man struggling against the current—to evoke notions of censorship and surveillance and feelings of suffocation and anxiety. 
The Guftgu Series have been facilitated and supported by Pro-Helvetia New Delhi’s Now On Grant for the year 2020.