Maha Kumbh of photography: Kolkata International Festival set to host 250 stars of the lens from across 40 countries
Kolkata is set to witness a Maha Kumbh. But this Maha Kumbha is not about the divine - rather it’s about lenses and image making. The Kolkata International Photography Festival (KIPF) 2019, which is shaping to become Asia’s largest festival of its kind, is hosting over 250 photographers from as many as 40 countries, showcasing nearly 1,500 photographs in over 10 iconic venues across the city.
Imagine ace photographer Raghu Rai’s unseen photographs of Kolkata captured over 40 years and rare photographs clicked by Satyajit Ray himself that have been languishing in their family vaults. Imagine getting captivated by one of India’s most expensive artist Paresh Maity’s gigantic photographs of Venice alongside the intimate works of iconic painters Jogen Chowdhury, Bikash Bhattacharjee, Ganesh Haloi and Chittrovanu Majumdar’s through cameras - all under the same roof.
The eight-day festival will kick off at Indian Museum on February 27, and present an endless plethora of raw powerful storytelling with photographers from Ethiopia to Nigeria, US to Iran, Japan to South Africa, Italy to Tunisia and Germany to Pakistan - forming one of the largest foreign crops of storytellers that has ever come to India for a single festival.
Victoria Memorial, the Indian Museum galleries of Harrington and Kolkata Centre of Creativity (KCC) will be the main venues for the exhibitions. The other venues include Daga Nikunj, The Gem Cinema, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Maya Art Space, Nandan and Kolkata Information Centre.
The festival is taking place under the aegis of the Maya Art Space, and has the best photographers from across the world showcasing their repertoires. They include Ami Vitale and Ed Kashi from USA, Greg Marinovich (South Africa), Liam Larson (Mozambique), Carlos Saavendra (Colombia), Abir Abdullah (Bangladesh), Wolfgang Zurborn (Germany), Isabel Corthier (Belgium), Paolo Patrizi (ITA), Hao Wu Young (China), Kiyoshi Niiyama (Japan), Filippo Pomano (Italy) and Julio de Matos (Portugal), among others.
The festival’s founding director Madhuchhanda Sen, who also owns and runs the iconic Maya Art Space, said, “The repertoire we are putting up will make KIPF 2019 a must-attend festival for the world’s who’s who. This will be the first time that a photography festival of such a massive scale - both in terms of content and scale - will take place in India. We are immensely proud to be able to showcase such a large variety of work from the farthest corners of the globe.”