ZURICH.- History of photography has been dominated by Europe and the United States. The exhibition Where Three Dreams Cross 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and the publication accompanying it articulate the significant history of South-Asian Photography from an inside view. It does not reiterate a western view of the east, but celebrates how successive generations of photographers from the subcontinent have portrayed themselves and their eras. On view shall be a photography rich and formally innovative, yet embedded in the culture and politics of South Asia.
Where Three Dreams Cross picks up on the pictorial worlds of the 19th century, it shows urban views, architectural photography and hand-coloured portraits of Indian life during colonial times. It concentrates on the transition of the South Asian peninsula once defined as the immense rhomboid bordered by the Himalayas in the north and the ocean to the south from a heterogeneous yet single entity defined by the Indus river to its subdivision into three nations: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The fast time of political upheaval and technology and the slow time of family, culture and ritual are captured through the lens of some 80 artists. Last but not least, the exhibition presents todays lively photographic scenes in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. The works demonstrate formal experimentation and aesthetic lines of enquiry as well as social awareness.
The exhibition focuses on five thematics: The Portrait, The Performance, The Family, The Public Space and The Body Politic. Thus it captures the intimate as well as the theatrical aspects of human life, the hierarchies that structure society as well as the chaos, the tangle of colours, people, traffic and cinematic images on the South-Asian continent.
The three countriesIndia, Pakistan, and Bangladeshwhich for centuries have shared a cultural space, framed by the three great riversthe Ganges, Indus, and Brahmaputraare reunited here. Yet this group photograph should not obscure that photography has developed in three different ways since 1947 (the partition of India and Pakistan) and 1971 (the separation of West and East Pakistan / Bangladesh).