It was a very passionate and opinionated team that worked on the Sarmaya exhibition. Each person brought a different perspective to the show and this was never more obvious than during a gallery walkthrough. We wanted each guest to feel welcomed into the gallery space and give everyone as personalised an introduction to the images as we could. Every day of the exhibition, our Collections Manager Komal Chitnis, Curatorial and Research Associate Shubhasree Purkayastha and Research Associate Kamna Anand were on hand to talk about the photographs and even give impromptu tours to groups of guests. And then there were the more formal gallery walkthroughs for larger audiences led by Sarmaya’s founder Paul Abraham and the show’s curator Madhavan Pillai.
Paul Abraham’s interest in photography was ignited by a search for visual evidence of The Uprising of 1857. Over the decades, this part of the Sarmaya archives has grown prolifically and we have one of the largest collections of rare Indian photographs in the country. As a lifelong art and history buff, Abraham has a personal connection with almost each of 92 images in our exhibition—and anecdotes to share about a few favourites too. He led two walkthroughs, ‘Ways of Seeing’ and ‘Adventures in Time Travel’, for adults and children during the exhibition. If you missed them and would like a guided tour of Sarmaya’s archives in Mumbai, sign up for Saturdays at Sarmaya!
Our show’s curator, Madhavan Pillai, is the Executive Director and founder of the Asia Photography Archive and the founder of Goa Center for Alternative photography. His strong point of view and technical expertise guided the content of our exhibition. During his walkthrough, ‘A View of The Nation, he helped visitors imagine India under British rule, complete with all the political, social and cultural complexities of the time. Read more about this vision here.