Unstill Waters: Contemporary Photography from India
December 10, 2022–June 11, 2023
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery | Gallery 22
Unstill Waters: Contemporary Photography from India foregrounds landscapes of India, real and reimagined, as powerful means of examining environmental and social issues concerning us all. Through still and moving image, seriality, and portraiture, five leading contemporary artists explore rapidly changing natural and built environments in India, from riverbanks, ancient forests, and city streets to surreal symbolic settings.
Ravi Agarwal and Atul Bhalla convey the profound importance of water in human life, highlighting enduring social and cultural connections to the sacred yet endangered Yamuna River. Gigi Scaria and Ketaki Sheth produce dynamic and disorienting portrayals of life in New Delhi and Mumbai. Sheba Chhachhi composes a provocative self-portrait that evokes a profound relationship to place as well as to her own focus on the representation of women in visual culture. Dynamic and varied in scale, format, and content, Unstill Waters also celebrates the spectacular recent gift of Sunanda and Umesh Gaur, which significantly expands the museum’s holdings of South Asian photography.
Living in Two Times: Photography by Bahman Jalali and Rana Javadi
August 6, 2022 – January 8, 2023
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery | Galleries 23 and 24
Living in Two Times features the work of Bahman Jalali (1944–2010) and his wife and closest collaborator Rana Javadi (b. 1953). Noted for their sharp documentary images and haunting photomontage works, the artists are among the most influential figures in the development of late twentieth-century photography in Iran. Driven by the medium’s powerful—and fragile—relationship to memory, Jalali and Javadi created an unparalleled visual record of a tumultuous period in their homeland.
This exhibition features images by both photographers from the iconic series Days of Blood, Days of Fire, capturing events in Tehran during the 1979 Iranian Revolution, as well as images from Jalali’s Khorramshahr: A City Destroyed and Abadan Fights On, drawn from his years spent on the Iran-Iraq warfront. Throughout his career, Jalali returned continually to his project of observing the changing lives and landscapes of Iran. A third section of the exhibition presents a selection of his images of fishing communities along the northern Persian Gulf. In addition to their documentary projects, Jalali and Javadi preserved early twentieth century archives, which they used as a basis for creating vivid photomontages that explore the role of the medium in documenting history. This will be the first museum retrospective in the United States that offers a glimpse of Jalali’s extensive practice and the first to be presented together with a selection of Javadi’s evocative work from the late 1970s to the present.
Support for this exhibition is provided by the Soudavar Memorial Foundation, the Mehr Foundation, the Persian Art Programs Endowment, and the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Endowment for Contemporary Iranian Art.