Pastoralists and pastoral landscapes have always been a source of inspiration for artists, and continue to fascinate onlookers, with their unique culture, art and crafts, attire, musical instruments, lifestyles, and most importantly their relationship with nature and their livestock. The exhibition brings together renowned artists and photographers with their photo essays on the Gaddis of Himachal Pradesh, Van Gujjars of Uttarakhand, Dhangars of Maharashtra, Maldharis of Gujarat and Changpas of Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir).
Michael Benanav is an author and freelance photographer known for immersing in foreign cultures and bringing compelling images and stories back from distant places. He has published three books; his third book, the recently released Himalaya Bound: An American’s Journey with Nomads in North India, follows a family of nomadic water buffalo herders on their annual spring migration into Indian Himalayas – offering an intimate glimpse into a rarely-seen way of life, while exploring the challenges faced by this endangered tribe.
Kalyan Varma is a wildlife photographer, filmmaker, naturalist and explorer dedicated to documenting wildlife and the environmental issues that define our times. He freelances with leading environmental magazines, environmental NGOs, and television channels like NatGeo and BBC.
Cristina Noble was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1944, and after a particularly difficult childhood she fled to England at the age of 18, to be with her brother, where she met and married her husband and had three children. Arriving in Vietnam in 1989, she set up the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation in Ho Chi Minh city, which is dedicated to serving children in need of emergency and long-term medical care, nutritional rehabilitation, educational opportunities, vocational training and job placement, as well as children at risk of sexual and economic exploitation. Christina Noble first went to Kullu in 1969 to trek from Shimla to Kashmir and ended up founding a Himalayan walking holiday business, as well as chronicling the journeys of Gaddis in Himachal. Having lived in Kullu for most of the 70’s and 80’s and armed with her Nikon, her photographs reveal the relationship between the Pahari people and their dramatic surroundings. She set up an artist residency programme and creative retreat, Prini Ropa in Kullu. Visiting artists, including painter Catherine Goodman, have been drawn to the Kullu Valley for over a century – attracted to the grandeur of the landscape and the culture of the Pahari people.
Sankar Sridhar is a photographer and travel writer, who has traveled across wide swathes of the country to document its landscapes and people. His enduring personal project has been to document the lives of pastoralists, especially the people who call the high Himalayas their home. His works – both photographic and editorial – have been published in renowned national and international publications. Chasing Nyima, Sridhar’s essay on his time with the nomads of Ladakh, found a distinctive place in Penguin’s third edition of First Proof, an anthology of New Indian Writing. It was lauded by critics as “lyrical” and “unforgettable”. About his real-life inspiration, this is what Sridhar has to say: “It was a nomad named Urghyen in Ladakh, who was instrumental in teaching how much science lay in their ways. I was in my early twenties when he requested me to take photos of their lives and lifestyles before they changed. Even today, six years after his death, he continues to inspire me.”
Ishaan Raghunandan is a young professional photographer from Kutch, with a post-graduate diploma in professional photography and a degree in engineering. He works in the field of wildlife conservation and rural documentary. In the last four years he has worked towards using the power of photography to have a direct and visible effect on good social causes, particularly in combating inequality in all its forms, promoting freedom, education and environmental protection. He is actively involved in education, teaching photography in rural areas of Kutch, while also instructing courses on Tropical Field Biology in Peru. The compassion, honesty, humility, grit and determination of ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things, while making the best of local conditions have inspired his core underlying values.
Photographers’ Colloquium A talk, followed by a discussion, by noted photographers whose works are on display in the exhibition space will take place at the IGNCA Auditorium on 4th December, 2016, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.