Exhibit A by Avani Rai
AUG 14, 2019 | By Nitija Shastri
Avani Rai, celebrated photographer Padma Shri Raghu Rai’s daughter, who’s early success behind the camera came with her documentary, Raghu Rai: An Unframed Portrait is making waves with her new photo series Exhibit A [n: something or someone regarded or presented as primary evidence in support of an argument or proposition] which is going to be displayed at Mumbai’s art district. In the wake of the current national agenda, the Indian photographer makes a strong statement with the photo series depicting locals of Kashmir photographed in their unsullied state.
The passionate photographer shares her concern and lends her strong voice to the political subject of the Kashmir conflict without trivialising or sensationalizing the issue. “I will say that its concern is the long-drawn pain and suffering of a people whose voices have been muted, caught between borders and uncertain destinies, it speaks about a personal experience for me,” says the filmmaker who shares an emotional sentiment with the state, having spent a fair share of time in the ‘Paradise on Earth’. “In this daily cycle of bloodshed and strife in the valley where in the competition of narratives between India and Pakistan, the stories of the pain and anguish of the people of Kashmir is conveniently glossed over. The women and children, especially, experience trauma in a way that cannot be justified,” she adds.
With the recent revocation of Article 370, the state of the affair keeps getting tense yet, somehow, bleak. Avani claims that the exhibition is curated to not stir a political debate but rather share a sentient bond, create conversations which is life and human-centric. Her art almost acts as a soft conscience that keeps getting stronger, pricking us to question ourselves actively—not letting the issue slip by. “Today, the phone calls are silenced.. The rest of Kashmir — whether it is Uri in the north, or Pulwama in the south — has long been off our collective radar. The only voices coming out of the interiors today are on pen drives, snuck out with utmost caution,” says Avani.
As the country commemorates the celebration of our 73rd anniversary of Indian independence, Exhibit A has a single argument on behalf of the Kashmiri people — “Let them speak,” she concludes. The Exhibit A by Avani Rai will run from the 16th to 24th August, 2019 from 11:00 am to 08:00 pm ( on all days)Address: Method- 86 Nagindas Master Road, Mezzanine Floor, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai, 400001.