Wanted: Conversation on Photo Festivals – New Delhi – Sep 2013

September 30 2013, New Delhi

Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan

Shahidul Alam
Shahidul Alam was born in 1955 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He studied and taught chemistry in London where he obtained a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) from the University of London. Alam’s work has been shown at leading museums and galleries in the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, The Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts, the National Art Gallery in Malaysia and the Tate Modern in Britain. He started photography in 1980 and was awarded the Harvey Harris Trophy for being judged the best photographer of the year by the London Arts Council in 1983. He became the president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society where he served for three terms. In 1989, he set up Drik picture library and in 1998, Pathshala: South Asian Institute of Photography. He is also a director of Chobi Mela, the festival of photography in Asia. Jury member of numerous competitions including World Press Photo where he has been a judge on four occasions, he was the first person of colour to chair the international jury in World Press Photo history.

Alam was the first Asian recipient of the prestigious Mother Jones Award for Documentary Photography. His numerous other awards include the Andrea Frank Foundation Award and the Howard Chapnick Award. He has also been awarded the Honorary Fellowships of the Bangladesh Photographic Society and later, the Royal Photographic Society in 2001, for his contribution to photography. He is on the advisory board for the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund and the National Geographic Society. He is visiting professor of Sunderland University in the UK and Regent’s Lecturer at UCLA in the USA. He is an acclaimed public speaker and has lectured at Harvard and Stanford Universities in the USA, in Oxford and Cambridge Universities in the UK, and in numerous prestigious academic institutions in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America. Alam is the founder chairman of Majority World, a global community interest initiative formed to provide a platform for indigenous photographers, photographic agencies and image collections from the majority world to gain access to global image markets.

He will speak about his experience in organizing Chobi Mela.

Elise Foster Vander Elst
Elise has been working in the art world since 2003. An art historian by training (she has a B.A. in History of Art & Archaeology and an M.A. in Contemporary Art History from the Sorbonne University in Paris), she started her career in New York at P.S.1-MoMA Contemporary Art Center and later Art Review Magazine.

After returning to the Sorbonne to complete her Masters, which focused on 1960s Performance Art, she joined a parisian art gallery and was instrumental in the setting up of its Indian art department. Some years later, in 2006, she moved to Bonhams, the British auction house. During her time there she worked on the setting up of Bonhams’ French company, and subsequently ran their first French auction alongside those in Gstaad and Monaco.

In 2009 she moved to India to launch Gallery BMB in Mumbai, where she was the Associate Director. During her time there she brought works by Jake + Dinos Chapman, Wang Qingsong, Tunga, George Osodi and many more of the worlds best international artists to India for the very first time. Alongside these activities, Elise regularly taught art history as a visiting professor in local art colleges. After her time at Gallery BMB, she moved on to found Asia Art Projects, and she has been working on cross-cultural visual arts initiatives ever since. Elise Co-Curated the 2013 edition of the annual [En]counters public art initiative, and is the Co-Founder of FOCUS Festival Mumbai, the city’s first photography festival.

She will speak about her experience in organizing FOCUS Festival, Mumbai.

Mohit Gopal
Mohit Gopal completed his management education from IIM Ahmedabad and then joined the International Finance Corporation – the private sector focused arm of the World Bank. There he analyzed companies for potential debt & equity investments by IFC, learning much about the business environment in India before leaving to start an advisory and consulting firm, Metalogos, in July 2006. Since then Mohit has worked with a number of start-ups and early stage companies across India, helping them scale up and become sustainable. He has great expertise in structuring transactions, financial modelling and looking for common sense solutions to complex problems.

He will speak about his experience in handling finances for United Art Fair and for startups.

Prashant Panjiar
Born 1957, Prashant Panjiar is a self-taught photographer. He has worked as a photojournalist and editor in mainstream media at Patriot newspaper (1984-1986), India Today (1986-1995) and the Outlook Group of Publications (1995-2001). Since 2001 Panjiar has been working independently specializing in reportage, editorial and documentary photography. Panjiar also continues to work as a consulting picture editor and is actively involved in mentoring younger photographers. He has served on the jury of the World Press Photo Awards in Amsterdam in 2002, the China International Press Photo Competition in 2005 and the Indian Express Press Photo Awards.

Panjiar is co-founder and managing trustee of Nazar Foundation, a non-profit trust for the promotion of the photographic arts and also the co-founder and one of the creative directors of the Delhi Photo Festival. His work can be viewed at www.panjiarphoto.com

His will speak about his experiences in initiating and organizing the Delhi Photo Festival.

Ram Rahman
Ram Rahman is a photographer and designer from Delhi, and went to Modern School. Ram holds a BS in Art and Design from MIT, and an MFA from Yale. He divided his time between Delhi and New York for many years. Ram is a founding member of Sahmat, the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust, and has been on the collective creative team for their exhibition, performance and publication projects for 24 years, as an artist-activist and designer.

Besides showing his own photography, Ram has curated major exhibits on the photographers Sunil Janah (New York 1998) and Madan Mahatta (Delhi, Mumbai 2012). Most recently he co-curated the exhibit “ The Sahmat Collective” at the Smart Museum, University of Chicago, in 2013, which travels in the US for three years and also co-edited the 300 page companion book.

Ram was also co-curator for ‘Kham’ (1986), The Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum in Delhi (1988) and ‘Noor’ – Devayani Krishna’s retrospective at the NGMA in Delhi (2000). He curated the show ‘Heat’ at Bose Pacia in New York in 2003. Mr Rahman has lectured at the Tate, MoMA, Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Kala Bhavan Santiniketan, 1 Shanti Road, amongst other institutions. He has written on contemporary Indian photography and architecture. His book of photographs, ‘Bioscope’ was published by Bodhi in 2008. Mr Rahman has not won any awards or prizes.

He will speak about his experience in being one of the curators of the United Art Fair 2013, New Delhi.