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Lonely beaches,abandoned ships,benches in desolate areas and wide expanses of uninhabited sea and land — these are the subjects of Swapan Nayak’s latest series

In his latest series,Being and Nothingness,photographer Swapan Nayak reflects on the consciousness of the individual

Lonely beaches,abandoned ships,benches in desolate areas and wide expanses of uninhabited sea and land — these are the subjects of Swapan Nayak’s latest series,Being and Nothingness. His subjects,as reflected in this series of black-and-white photographs,have become comparatively more abstract than before.

The exhibition,organised by Tasveer,is currently being held at the Institute of Contemporary Indian Art,Kala Ghoda in Mumbai. It will travel to Delhi,Ahmedabad,Bangalore and Kolkata over the next 10 months.

Nayak lived in a small village in West Bengal until he finished college and then moved to Kolkata — this transition has,quite understandably,impacted his art. His photographs speak eloquently about the pain,suffering and joy that his move to the city had caused. Nayak’s previous series was called Nowhere People.

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Years ago,during his stint with a national magazine,his attention was drawn to the inhabitants of the temporary islands on the Brahmaputra river. Every monsoon,they would be forced to relocate to the banks of the river. They constantly lived in the fear of not having a roof over their heads the next day. Nayak photographed and documented their lives in a series of beautiful and uncomfortably stark series.

Being and Nothingness,on the other hand,is abstract. Yet,as Abhishek Poddar,director of Tasveer Arts,says,they are “extremely sensitive photographs and evocative of emotion”. For this series,Nayak has drawn inspiration from Jean Paul Sartre’s treatise by the same name which lays a great deal of importance on the consciousness of the individual.

His photographs do the same. He explains,“The composition of my photographs comes from my consciousness and,through them,I have tried to reflect myself — my consciousness.”

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The emphasis in these photographs is on the abstract,a form that he believes is under represented in Indian photography. The other aspect is their universality. Nayak has chosen to leave this series of photographs untitled so the location they were shot at remains unknown.

First published on: 11-08-2011 at 03:06:45 am
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