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Never before seen works by Tina Modotti donated to National Photographic Library of Mexico
During several years, the documents belonging to the general director of this educational project, was treasured by Savitri Sawhney, daughter of Khankhoje, who wholeheartedly decided to deliver this material (that was in New Delhi, India) to the Mexican State.

Translated by: Cristina Perez Ayala

MEXICO CITY.- A dossier, donated this 2014 to the National Photographic Library of Mexico, has opened new paths to understand the work of photographer Tina Modotti (1896-1942) in favor of the peasants of Mexico, a cause she followed because of the ideals of another interesting and ignored character, Indian agronomist Pandurang Khankhoje (1884-1967).

The dossier, along with some papers and newspaper cut outs speak of the existence of the Free Schools of Agriculture in Mexico, that during the 1920’s and 1930’s of the past year, offered rural wisdom and free enquiries.

During several years, the documents belonging to the general director of this educational project, was treasured by Savitri Sawhney, daughter of Khankhoje, who wholeheartedly decided to deliver this material (that was in New Delhi, India) to the Mexican State.

In an effort to divulge it’s content, this unedited corpus is also central motive to the magazine Alquimia, who celebrate their 50th number and the publication of 300 articles about the photographic world.

In this manner, the publication allows us to know part of the dossier that was handed over to the National Photographic Library of Mexico by Savitri Sawhney, and which corresponds to some 30 photographs.

The dossier doesn’t only compliment Modotti’s work in Mexico, which has been in custody of the National Photographic Library of Mexico since 1979, but it also allows a better and fuller understanding of Tina Modotti while presenting us a solid sociopolitical context we didn’t have.

In the 50th issure of Alquimia, we can see new approaches to the photographic work of an author renowed internationally, whose work is yet to be explored.

Mayra Mendoza, subdirector of the National Photographic Library of Mexico, added that the dossier contains annotations of the courses given in these schools installed in small towns in the state of Mexico and Veracruz. The photographs are the testimony of the meetings in which the peasants learnt new agricultural techniques such as the improvement of seeds, patented by Khankhoje.

To Jose Antonio Rodriguez, editor of Alquimia —this appears under the title Tina Modotti; New Lectures for this memorable issue—, the unedited dossier expands the outlook on social compromise making it an “essentially humanist” work that the photographer practiced with the marginalized sectors of the Mexican population.

Some of these images observe Pandurang Khankhoje, who directed these Schools, with children in the experimentation camps of the school “Emiliano Zapata num. 1”, a group of children, or a peasant and his family standing before the corn harvest; others represent personalities such as Diego Rivera or singer Concha Michel pleasing the corwds with her voice and guitar during the inauguration of the Free School of agriculture, num. 2.





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