Focus Photography Festival's third edition, March 23, 2017
In today's digital world, where phones and sharing platforms have revolutionised the speed at which we transform the present into the past, we must ask whether photography has, in fact, become a memory.
As the digital replaces the physical, are our memories under threat of disappearing? Has memory been outsourced? From the public to the personal, the scientific to the emotional, the collective to the individual, artists to historians?
The Focus Photography Festival here invites artists to engage with this question.
For it's third edition, which will be on till March 23 at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), the festival explores the theme "Memory".
It questions how photography and memory have always shared an irreducible bond. It will bring to its viewers, the best of Indian and international frames through a series of curated exhibitions.
The festival presents an ambitious 14-day-programme with over 25 exhibitions and 50 events across the city, which include major travelling photography exhibitions, shown in India for the first time, and collaborations with international photography festivals.
"Memory" being this year's theme, the shows explore many interpretations of the bond between remembrance and image, ranging "from the public to the personal, the scientific to the emotional, the collective to the individual and artists to historians".
"There is so much to look forward to at Focus. I would recommend checking out our extensive events programme here. There is something for everyone, regardless of if you're a seasoned art lover, or just have a passing interest," Festival Director Elise Foster Vander Elst told IANS.
"Throughout the two weeks visitors will have the opportunity to hear leading artists speak, have free mentor sessions with senior photographers, attended guided tours and enjoy free workshops," Elst said.
Exciting exhibitions in unusual spaces are also a key part of the festival.
"People must attend the fascinating exhibition curated by Alisha Sett at Ferreira House, which has been culled from culled from images of The Rescued Film Project, an archive of forgotten and lost pictures trapped in rolls of film until now," said Elst.
"Meanwhile, at Studio Sonam, a warehouse in Lower Parel, catch an important transnational project and exhibition that explores female identity and representation - Photographing the Female," she added.
An extensive series of free outreach events will complement existing programming, including talks, workshops, mentor sessions, screenings and walk-throughs. Opportunities for thoughtful dialogue and exchange, professional development for young photographers and an education platform for children.
"These exhibitions are not to be missed! Saunter around Rampart Row in Kala Ghoda, or head to The Amateur Gallery and Underground Bookshouse to check out Feeling of Memory exhibition," Elst said.
Alongside exhibitions in Mumbai's leading galleries and museums, the festival brings photography outside traditional spaces, to reach bigger and more diverse audiences, and into an eclectic range of venues from stores and cafes to the streets of Mumbai.
International highlights include Masterji, Maganbhai Patel the Indian premiere of a renowned touring exhibition first shown in UK in November 2016.
Also on display for the first time in India will be works by William Gedney (1932 - 1989) as part of the exhibition Gedney in India, at Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation.
As one of the key figures of American black and white street photography the exhibition highlights his work during two visits to India, as a Fulbright scholar from 1969 to 1971 and on his return to India ten years later.
Photographs by two Japanese artists, Yuki Iwanami and Kota Kishi, are also on view in India for the first time.