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Photography arrived in India in 1840 and has remained rooted in the distinctive aesthetics and cultural iconography of the subcontinent ever since, while also serving as a reflection of the political context of the times.

This symposium will be chaired by Rahaab Allana, consultant curator of Illuminating India: Photography 1857–2017, curator of the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in New Delhi and Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society in London.

The symposium will consist of two sessions:

Session one: Archives and the Contemporary

Moderator: Latika Gupta—independent curator since 2007.

Her major exhibitions include 'Homelands: A 21st century story of home away, and all the places in between', which toured cities in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (2013-14), and a large-scale historical exhibition of modern and contemporary art that she curated from Delhi’s National Gallery Modern Art collection in 2009.

Panelists: Divia Patel—Senior Curator, South Asia V&A; Olivia Arthur—Contemporary Artist (TBC); Mr. Christopher Penn—Author

Session two: Politics and Personal Testimony

Moderator: Nada Raza—Research Curator, Tate Research Centre

Panelists: Sunil Gupta—New Delhi-born photographer and Visiting Professor of Photography at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad; Dr. Emilia Terracciano—Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Ruskin 2015-2018; Arpita Shah—Contemporary Artist

Hero image: Homai Vyarawalla, A section of the crowds at the Red Fort on August 16th, 1947 with Jama Masjid in the background, HV Archive/The Alkazi Collection of Photography


Following the symposium the Science Museum would like to invite you to attend the launch of the Alkazi Collection of Photography’s new publication  'The Uprising of 1857'. 

Rosie Llewellyn–Jones and the cover of her book, The Uprising of 1857

Edited by Rosie Llewellyn–Jones MBE, a well-known British scholar with an expertise on Lucknow and its culture, the publication offers multiple perspectives on the Uprising of 1857 and deconstructs the grand narratives associated with colonial historiography. 

Using rare archival photographs from the Alkazi Collection, together with supplementary visual material, these essays re-evaluate the evidence and official reading of the Uprising with contributions by Zahid R.Chaudhary, Susan Gole, Mahmood Farooqui, Nayanjot Lahiri, Tapti Roy, Stéphanie Roy Bharath and Andrew Ward.

The Alkazi Foundation for the Arts
Mapin Publishing