Zahra Amiruddin's photo exhibition, A Summer Slumber, explores the idea of collective memories and nostalgia
Zahra’s work depicts themes of self-reflection and growth
Growing up, for most of us, summer was all about lazy, lingering days of holidays and vacation. But as the years pass by, we leave behind those carefree days. This ongoing photography exhibition A Summer Slumber by Zahra Amiruddin at Method in Mumbai is a refreshing reminder of our childhood from a grown-up’s perspective. Depicting self-reflection and growth through her lens, Zahra’s work revolves around the theme of collective consciousness. The 23 different photographs are in sync at this art café in the suburbs of the city. We find ourselves travelling between the past and the present, and resonating with the artist’s shifting memories through imageries.
“I wanted to bring back that summer nostalgia. There are so many memories and as we grow up everything that we experienced as kids is gone. When I was asked for this show I looked through my archives and selected images that resonated with my feelings about summer,” says Zahra, who is an alumnus of Sophia College in Mumbai and started her career when she did her first photography assignment in college. “That gave me a sense of liberation when I saw the world through a viewfinder. I felt invisible but very much present at the same time. That’s the beauty of the camera,” shares the 30-year-old.
Although Zahra is famously known for her black and white photography (her Instagram profile reflects her love for monochromes), A Summer Slumber is a combination of coloured and black and white images. There is a kind of romanticism in Zahra’s creation and the photographs showcase various emotions such as emptiness, loneliness, introspection, confusion, absence of time, and much more.
For instance, the photograph of a black and white hand covered with soap metaphorically reflects unsettlement and isolation. A mundane act of washing hands, looks unsettling. “This is a reflection of my feeling of unsettlement. I created this work during the pandemic and isolation period,” explains the artist, who usually prefers photographing in natural spaces. "But lockdown locked us all in. It was challenging to find something at that time so I started creating my work from mundane," she adds.
Zahra's notions of photography has changed over the years. Earlier it was all about a well-composed shot, with perfect colour composition. It was after her learning in Paros that she realised her love for doing photography which emphasises the feeling and the mood. "My trainer threw all technical concepts out of the window and asked me to photograph my feelings," she insists.
We ask about her idea of showcasing her work out of conventional art spaces and if she gets the similar art enthusiasts as she would get in art galleries and museums. “It’s a wonderful shift that exhibitions are making their way out from art galleries. In conventional art spaces, you get true art lovers who care for art but sometimes one doesn’t know if you love art or not until you stumble upon it. It’s good that art is coming out of galleries and now onto the streets. We have to make art more accessible and we have to admit that going to an art gallery is an act of privilege and not everyone has that privilege,” says Zahra in conclusion.