Today the weather was beautiful. Clear blue skies, no wind. I got up this morning and did a little bit of housework but I didn’t feel like staying home. I had to get out there to enjoy the day.
Andrew was going to watch golf on the television all day so I bid adieu to him and drove out to Wheelers Hill to see the Monash Gallery of Art.
It’s about a 40 minute drive from Melbourne heading up towards the Dandenong Ranges and about a 20 minute drive from our place. The only thing about Wheelers Hill that I remember is the pub. Wheelers Hill pub (now called The Rogue Squire) was an institution during my university years. Much time was spent there with friends as Monash University (my uni) is nearby. I’d like to go back there one day soon and reminisce…over a beer.
The gallery had an exhibition called Visions of India.
Photographers had taken photos of the people before independence and until current times. So there were photos from the late 1880s through to 2010.
Here’s what the website Anart4Life by Anne Newman said about the exhibition:
Since its invention in Europe in the 1840s, the genre of photography has played an integral role in the course of Indian art history. Although it is often quoted that India is the most photographed country in the world, the history of its representation is more complicated, and more political than initially meets the eye. 1
Visions of India: from the colonial to the contemporary is the first major survey of Indian photography in Australia, and all artworks showcased are from the collection of Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), Bengaluru, one of the most celebrated collections of photographs relating to India in the world.1
Curated by Nathaniel Gaskell, the exhibition begins its journey in 1860, displaying a range of works by pioneering studio photographers, such as Samuel Bourne and Lala Deen Dayal, before continuing right through to the contemporary photographic practices of artists such as Pushpamala N, Karen Knorr and Michael Bühler-Rose.1
You can see what I thought of some photos through this tweet thread below. 👇
There were some artworks too like the one above with the peacock which had a commanding presence in the room. It’s from a German artist, Knorr and I wondered about the hooks on the ceiling so I tweeted my question.
The answer came soon later with a tweet. Thank you Deach!
One particular part of the Exhibition was about Indian photographer named Punjabi, who set up a studio in a village called Nagda and then over the years, took black and white photos of the people in it. All of the photos showed their character. (I love portrait photography).
I loved what he said that these photos now immortalised them at that point in time at their best. A snapshot of time when they came into his studio, he chatted to them to get to know them and took photos of how they wanted to be represented. He also said that his photos became “doors and windows to look out through” as he captured a snapshot over the years of all the character.
I’d love to have a portrait photo of myself taken in an instant of time where I’m not looking into the camera, not posing in front of it, not planned the shot. A moment that captures the true essence of me at a time when I’m at my most me. A photo I can keep and not share to others. A photo that takes me back not to place – but to me, as a person.
Those moments are hardly ever captured because although there are many of them, there’s no one around to take them.
They are the glimpses of what our loved ones see when we don’t notice them noticing. I want to capture.
Well anyway, after the exhibition, I looked through the small shop at items for sale, wandered into the cafe and bought a biscuit, coffee and a bottle of water and sat by the lake. I tried to take a portrait photo of myself but meh, it’s staged.
Here’s a short video I did about it.
If you’d like a virtual tour of the Visions of India tour, here’s the link.