Photo by Indra Rai
Since 2016, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and Zubaan Publishers Pvt. Ltd. have organised Fragrance of Peace—a project that aims to broaden the scope of research, art and literary work in the Northeastern states of India. By bringing together writers, artists, journalists, researchers and photographers from the Northeast, it attempts to strengthen existing networks, build new partnerships, and facilitate cultural production and exchange.
Fragrance of Peace also aims to build a platform for these individuals and groups from the region to discuss, ideate and work on their regional specificities, and start wide-ranging conversations on diverse topics that open up the imagination of the region beyond the lens of violence. Through Her Lens is one such endeavour.
Women photographers and artists receive far less attention and face far more discrimination in accessing opportunities that enable and provide exposure to their work to a larger audience. Through Her Lens aims to expand photographic practices of women, queer, trans and other marginalised communities in the eight Northeast Indian states and Darjeeling Hills, and create a safe space for the production and representation of their works.
Memory & Migration was the first programme under Through Her Lens, a public exhibition held in Namchi, Sikkim between 9 and 16 February 2020, showcasing works by women artists from Sikkim and Darjeeling Hills. During the exhibition, photographer Prashansa Gurung delivered a talk on visual practices through a gendered lens. A team of Zubaan research grantees from the region were also present for the session, delivering insights on a collaborative approach to photography.
You can view the archived images from Memory & Migration here.
Reframing the Domestic is the second programme under Through Her Lens. The online exhibition is an attempt at visually interpreting the domestic experiences of marginalised communities in Northeast India and Darjeeling Hills during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Through Her Lens: Conversations, a series of webinars with women photographers, curators and scholars is also being held as part of this programme. The webinar addresses various themes including visually documenting marginalised communities, feminist ethics and theories and curating women’s art.
You can view the recorded THL: Conversations webinars here.
About the curators
Mridu Rai is the curator of Through Her Lens. She is also the founding member of The Confluence Collective, a collective whose larger goal is to also be able to bridge the gap that exists in the discourse of understanding the region of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sikkim through the medium of visual storytelling and in this way, build new forms of knowledge and newer narratives. She is an alumna of the University of the Arts London and has worked at various publications including India Today and ARTEM, an independent magazine which looked at northeast India through the lens of art.
Anushya Pradhan is the assistant curator of Through Her Lens. She has recently worked as art programmes coordinator at The People’s Studio, ARTEM where she curated creative events such as film screenings, printmaking and zine workshops. At present, she is also involved in developing art, reading and education programmes.