A unique collaboration between photographer Gauri Gill and renowned Warli artist Rajesh Vangad.
The series began in early 2013 in Ganjad, Dahanu, an Adivasi village in coastal Maharashtra, India. A new visual language emerged symbiotically from Gill's initial experiences of photographing the landscape. Looking at her contact sheets, she perceived that although the camera was capturing the distinct "chameleon-like" skin of the landscape, it was missing vital aspects of what was not apparent to the eye, yet was vividly relayed in the great mythical and experiential stories narrated to her by Vangad. The photographs by Gill, inscribed by drawings by Vangad, reconfigure the photographic site both formally as well as conceptually, to arrive at new documents of multiple truths and knowledge systems. In the act of viewing the landscape through the eyes of Vangad, Gill rekindles the need to challenge the way we see things today, what our eyes capture and what may elude them. "As though one were photographing an old home, and the resident of the house came out, and began to speak".
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.
Rajesh Vangad (born 1975 in Ganjad, India) is a bearer of the Warli style of painting, a form of painting belonging to the indigenous Warli people. He learned the art at a young age from his mother, Ladhki Devi; and later from masters like Jivya Soma Mashe. He has painted notable murals at the Craft Museum, New Delhi, the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai and the T2 Terminal at the International Airport in Mumbai. Vangad has published My Gandhi Story
(Tulika Books), Kabir Saamagri
(as part of the Kabir Project) and The Indian Crafts Journey
, as well as a map of Maharashtra (Dastkaar Haat Samiti
). His work has been exhibited across India as well as internationally, and the collaborative series made along with the photographer Gauri Gill
called Fields of Sight
has been included in exhibitions around the world, including Documenta 14, Kassel; the 7th Moscow Biennale, and Prospect 4, New Orleans.