Dr Yashaswini Chandra, author of 'The Tale of the Horse:...
Unseeing Empire: Photography, Representation, South Asian America
As part of MAP’s ongoing theme, Art is Life, we are pleased to present an illustrated presentation by Bakirathi Mani on her new book Unseeing Empire: Photography, Representation, South Asian America. The discussion that follows with Annu Palakunnathu Mathew will focus on her series An Indian from India, also featured in the book.
Mani’s book and the talk will discuss how the histories and images of empire haunt contemporary visual culture, how we visualise ourselves through this visual culture and how this in turn informs and shapes racial identities and communities. Examining, in particular, the experience of the South Asian diaspora in America, the session explores how photography functions as recorded history, how we look to it for the representation of our lives and how it can make visible certain stories of the empire.
Bakirathi Mani is a professor in the Department of English Literature and the Coordinator of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Swarthmore College. She earned her Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University and her M.A. in Modern Indian History from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her recent book, 'Unseeing Empire: Photography, Representation, South Asian America' (Duke University Press, 2020) explores the relation between race and representation in contemporary South Asian diasporic visual and exhibition cultures Mani’s scholarship has been published in 'American Quarterly' and 'The Journal of Asian American Studies' among other venues. She is also a curator with Independent Curator’s International.
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew is a professor of Art at the University of Rhode Island and was the Director of the Centre for the Humanities from 2013-2019 and Silvia-Chandley Professor of Nonviolence and Peace Studies from 2015-17. Matthew’s work draws on archival photographs as a source of inspiration to re-examine historical narratives and colonisation’s legacies. Her recent solo exhibitions have been shown at the Royal Ontario Museum, Nuit Blanche and sepiaEYE. She has also exhibited work at the RISD Museum, MFA Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Victoria & Albert Museum, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Fotofest Biennial and the Smithsonian. Her work, 'An Indian from India', is also in the collections of MAP, Bangalore.