Repertoires of the world’s greatest masters, many never been shown before while others have remained solitary in the vaults of private collectors are all set to enthral India in Asia’s largest photo festival in Kolkata. The inaugural Kolkata International Photo Festival 2019 will be held beginning February 28 for five days. The festival was announced at the Victoria Memorial recently where the festival directors revealed some of the incredible collections sourced from across India and the world, many held by private collectors and some of the country’s most revered families.
The festival will turn Kolkata into a gigantic venerable gallery. The shows will take place in almost all of the city’s top institutions and venues including galleries. The festival will not just witness repertoires of the world’s greatest artists but also have some of the biggest names from the world of photography come into the city to interact and mentor a giant pool of the city’s best talent, through workshops and debates on new trends and practices.
Photographs taken by the legendary Satyajit Ray will also be exhibited along with the works of Nemai Ray, who worked with the director as his photo-biographer. The festival will pay tribute to S Paul, famously referred to as a humanist photographer, as well, by putting up his unseen works.
“Kolkata is considered to be India’s Mecca art and culture. Maya Art Space, being one of the most revered art venues in the country has been showcasing the best of photographic works of not only artists in the city but some of the stalwarts of this sub-continent and the world. The thought of doing this festival has been on our mind for over a year and we wanted to deliver one of the best curated and managed festivals India has ever seen,” said Madhuchhanda Sen, founder, Maya Art Space.
India’s top art historian and curator Uma Nair will herself curate some of the collections. She is also on the advisory board of the festival along with stalwarts like artist Jogen Chowdhury filmmaker Sandip Ray, ICCR director Gautam De, photographer Nemai Ghosh, social activist Amol Ghosh and painter Ganesh Holoi.
Another major highlight of the festival will be Nair’s portrayal of Jyoti Bhatt’s work in a curated show called Living Walls – a testimony of India’s indigenous arts and vanishing traditions. Jyoti Bhatt – world renowned Indian painter, printmaker and photographer known for colourful works that combine a graphic sensibility with traditional Indian folk design will show 20 photographs of the Indian countryside.
One of the highlights of the festival will be the first ever look into India’s best known living photographer Raghu Rai’s 40 years of photographing Kolkata. Rai will showcase 50 of his works on Kolkata taken over the last four decades, mainly covering the world’s greatest festival – the Pujas. His series offers a look at the changing shades of Durga Puja in the city.
Another major draw at the festival will be a rarely seen portfolio of India’s most awarded photographer S Paul. The festival will pay tribute to the man who was referred to as “the humanist photographer” and as “the Henry Cartier-Bresson of India”. Never before has any festival had access to Paul’s intricate and private works. KIPF will host the first such show of Paul’s unseen repertoire. Paul was the first Indian to be profiled by The British Journal of Photography in 1967.
Actress and director Aparna Sen, award-winning filmmaker Goutam Ghosh, painter Jogen Choudhury, globally acclaimed writer Kunal Basu, India’s greatest heart surgeon Ramakant Panda to music director Shantanu Moitra will showcase a body of work at KIPF 2019 that has never been exhibited before. These are photographs clicked privately by these renowned personalities which will be showcased in an entire gallery show.