Indo-French collective BIND at FOCUS Photography Festival

BIND, a collective of Indo-French photographers, present “The Bodyguard Lane Album”, supported by Institut français India, at the third edition of FOCUS Photography Festival Mumbai.

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Mumbai, 9-23 March 2017

As part of this year’s festival theme, ‘Memory’, the BIND collective will present an exhibition on ‘homeless’ families settled in a street in Mumbai commonly known as “Bodyguard Lane”.

Exhibition: "The Bodyguard Lane Album" by BIND collective

FOCUS Photo Festival Mumbai
Opening 9th March 2017
On view until 23rd March 2017

At two exhibition venues at Kala Ghoda:

  • Rampart Gallery Row
    for outdoor exhibition, open daily, 24 hours.
  • and Art Entrance (Army Navy Building)
    for publication and video (10.00 am - 6.00 pm)

By collecting and digitising photographs of these individuals and families from Bodyguard Lane, BIND creates an album that preserves not only their memories, but the memory of a street and a city. The exhibition is taking place with the support of the Embassy of France through its cultural department, Institut français India, and Kala Ghoda Association in collaboration with Pehchan.

“The Bodyguard Lane album” an exhibition based on the memories of ‘homeless’ families in Mumbai

In February 2016, as part of a study on homelessness in urban India, BIND was commissioned to take a series of portraits and document the different livelihoods of some of the women living on a pavement in South Bombay. These women were introduced by Pehchan, a Mumbai-based NGO that uses advocacy and empowerment to ensure the rights of homeless citizens while building their self-reliance at every step.

The ‘homeless’ families had settled in a street commonly known as “Bodyguard Lane”. Many of them had been living there for generations. Interested in the history of their predicament, BIND asked to have a look at their personal photographs. They discovered that these memories – sometimes kept in a plastic bag, sometimes tucked inside a blouse – were also in a state of great precariousness, threatened by the inexorable cycles of the monsoons and evictions.

They began browsing through each family’s past. Each collection was unique and displayed a varying range of images, from hand-painted photographs to recent ID photographs. As the custodians of the photographs – generally women – delved into the stories behind their images, excitement began to stir up in the community of Bodyguard Lane. Giggling children and curious neighbours peeped in: “Is this you as a kid? Was this how your husband looked?” These photographs appeared of value, not only to the families that were pictured in them, but also to the collective memory of the city – a city in which they might not be official inhabitants, but of whose dynamic identity they are nevertheless a part.

BIND then offered to digitise the photographs for the families as a reliable way to preserve them, available to print at any time. The families also granted BIND permission to use these images to share their stories with the city. The outcome of this engagement culminated in a photo album especially crafted for and in conversation with the people of Bodyguard Lane. It is an album that stands as a testimony, a tribute to these families and to the anonymous studios and wandering photographers who captured their memories, using as their backdrops the cityscapes, and at times, a fantasised reality.

The Bodyguard Lane Album will be launched on the opening on the festival, accompanied by an outdoor exhibition of the photographs and a video screening.

This publication will be available for the duration of FOCUS festival (9th - 23rd March) at the Art Entrance Gallery in the Army Navy Building, opposite the exhibition, next to the David Sassoon Library.

About BIND Collective

BIND is a multimedia collective founded in 2015 by five photographers based in India. Combining skills in photography, filmmaking, curation and design, BIND’s ambition is to create inspiring stories that help the public renew their way of engaging with the world, as well as of looking at images, from works of arts to documents and social artefacts.

Its members include:
Philippe Calia is an artist, photographer and filmmaker from Paris, France. His personal work aims at capturing the latent energy of the urban context. His editorial and reportage works have been featured in various international and Indian publications such as Der Spiegel, Le Monde, The Financial Times, Courrier International and Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, amongst others. Philippe is currently based out of Mumbai, India.

The collective consists also of talented Indian photographers:
Andrea Fernandes / Asmita Parelkar / Abhinav Sharma / Nishant Shukla / Sunil Thakkar

More information on their website: http://www.bindcollective.in

FOCUS Photography Festival Mumbai

FOCUS Photography Festival Mumbai extends photography out of the gallery space onto public spaces, and even streets of Mumbai. As part of its 2017 theme ‘Memory’, the festival explores how photographers and photography construct and shape history, using socio-political narratives and building geographies to retell personal stories.

For more information on the festival please visit http://www.focusfestivalmumbai.com

Last modified on 09/03/2017

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