Allegory and Illusion with Rahaab Allana and Beth Citron
The extraordinary range of photography from South Asia dates back to the official birth of the medium in the mid-nineteenth century. The exhibition Allegory and Illusion, the first of its kind in North America, offers an intimate view of vintage images from this region, including the modern nations of India, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), and Nepal. Together they establish a regional history of photography shaped by both foreign and local practitioners.
Through a survey of documentary photography and hybrid formats, this talk by co-curator Rahaab Allana traces the historical precedents of the medium rooted in traditional as well as painterly formats from both Asian and European art history. The conditions under which some of these images were made shows the diverse relationship between political events and photographic practice. The talk resists discussing the purpose of these works, instead taking into account not only the role of the medium and the state of technology but, significantly, photography’s systems of exchange, circulation, and collection.
In collaboration with the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi.
About the Speaker
Rahaab Allana is curator of the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts and a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society (London). He is the author of Inherited Spaces, Inhabited Places, a volume on World Heritage Sites, and guest editor of Marg Volume 61: Aperture and Identity—Early Photography in India, as well as the Lalit Kala Contemporary Journal titled Depth of Field: Photography as Art and Practice in India. He is the honorary editor and proprietor of India’s first theme-based photography quarterly, titled PIX, which recently launched its eighth issue dedicated to contemporary photography in Iran.