A community project initiated by the renowned Indian photographer with Adivasi papier-mâché artists from the Kokna and Warli tribes in Palghar district, India.
Acts of Appearance assumed its form within a village of Adivasi papier-mâché artists from the Kokna and Warli tribes in Palghar district. Further inland from Dahanu, it is one of the most impoverished districts in Maharashtra, India. Gill's collaborator-subjects are renowned for their papier-mâché objects, including traditional sacred masks made for the yearly Bohada procession. In these pictures the artists as well as other local volunteers engage in everyday village activities while wearing new masks, made by them expressly for this body of work beginning in 2014. The new creations depict living beings with the physical characteristics of ordinary humans, commonplace animals, or valued objects. A range of scenarios and narratives, situated in both "reality" and dreamlike states, come together in the photographs, which simultaneously portray symbolic or playful representations as well as the familiar experiences of community members against the backdrop of their home and culture.
Acts of Appearance was created as a community project with the following artists: Bhagvan Dharma Kadu, Subhas Dharma Kadu, Yuvraj Bhagvan Kadu, Rahul Arvind Kakad, Madhuri Subhas Kadu, Vaibhav Subhas Kadu, Rahul Bhagvan Kadu, Makhaval Bhagvan Kadu, Mukta Subhas Kadu, Rangeeta Arvind Kakad, Sampat Raho Vazare, Gangubai Eshwar Vazare, Rajashri Eshwar Vazare, Darshana Devram Kakad, Ganesh Ganpat Lokhande, Sangeeta Ganesh Lokhande, Sangeeta Navnath Kadu, Kusum Bhagvan Kadu, Harishchandra Rama Kadu, Suvrna Harishchandra Vad, Anjana Sachin Kurbude, Sachin Sankar Kurbude, Sanjay Sakharam Vatas, Ganpat Ganga Lokhande, Rupesh Arvind Kakad, Nalini Pradip Valvi, Jyoti Sanjay Vatas, Shravan Budhya Tumbda, Saraswati Subhas Kadu, Sapna Bhagvan Kadu, Bhawna Bhagvan Kadu, Pooja Arvind Kakad, Tushar Prakash Vatas, Tushar Dinkar Vatas, Vijaya Navnath Kadu, Suraj Tukaram Vad, Nishant Tulshiram Thalkar and Nilam Sunil Marad.
Gauri Gill (born 1970 in Chandigarh, India
) is a photographer
based in New Delhi. She earned a BFA (Applied Art) from the College of Art, New Delhi; BFA (Photography) from Parsons School of Design/The New School, New York and MFA (Art) from Stanford University, California. She has exhibited within India and internationally, including the 58th Venice Biennale; Museum Tinguely, Basel; MoMA PS1, New York; Documenta 14, Athens and Kassel; Kochi Biennale 2016; 7th Moscow Biennale; Wiener Library, London and Whitechapel Gallery, London.
Her work is in the collections of prominent institutions worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Museum, London; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington and Fotomuseum, Winterthur. In 2011 she was awarded the Grange Prize, Canada's foremost award for photography.
Gill's practice is complex because it contains several lines of pursuit. These include an almost two decade long engagement with marginalised communities in rural Rajasthan called Notes from the Desert (since 1999)—this ongoing archive contains sub-series such as The Mark on the Wall, Traces, Birth Series, Jannat, Balika Mela, and Ruined Rainbow. She has explored human displacement and the migrant experience in The Americans and What Remains. Projects such as the 1984 notebooks highlight her sustained belief in collaboration and 'active listening', and in using photography as a memory practice. Beginning in early 2013, Fields of Sight is an equal collaboration with the renowned Adivasi artist, Rajesh Vangad
, combining the contemporary language of photography with the ancient one of Warli drawing to co-create new narratives. In her recent body of work, Acts of Appearance, (2015—), the artist has worked closely with the paper mache artists of the Kokna and Warli tribes in Maharashtra, using unique new masks to tell fictional stories improvised together of contemporary life in the village. Working in both black and white and colour, Gill addresses the Indian identity markers of caste, class and community as determinants of mobility and social behaviour; in her work there is empathy, surprise, and a human concern over issues of survival.