The second edition of Habitat Photosphere, a year-long photography festival conceptualised and curated by Dr Alka Pande around the theme of sustainable development and initiated by India Habitat Centre, has kicked off with the announcement of this edition’s four awardees of the Photosphere fellowship.
Selected through an open call for application and from hundreds of entries, the four photographers – Juhi Saklani (New Delhi), Thulasi Kakkat (Kochi), Zishaan A. Latif (Mumbai) and Syed Adnan Ahmed (Rajasthan) – have been given a Rs 2 lakh grant to produce a significant body of work that will be exhibited during the grand finale of the festival slated for February-March 2019. The awardees will be mentored through the year by an eminent panel of photographers including Aditya Arya, Bandeep Singh, Parthiv Shah and Prabir Purkayastha respectively.
Habitat Photosphere brings together the spheres of photography and sustainability, through fellowship and mentorship, followed by a month-long grand finale of exhibitions, workshops, talks and screenings at India Habitat Centre. In addition, there will also be curated events and exhibitions on the theme of sustainability throughout the year. The festival is followed up with a photo-book titled Visual Arts Journal 2018 Photography: Art, Archive, Document that aims to position itself as a handbook of diverse scholarly works on photography from prominent authors, curators and art practitioners.
Delhi-based Juhi Saklani’s photographs will be of beautiful, sculptural trees and roots that grow out of old walls and buildings, out of other trees, or unexpected spaces. The idea is to emphasise the synergy and interconnected-ness of life. The performative silhouette of the artist placed amongst these surroundings explores this interconnection.
Thulasi Kakkat focuses on the the eco-cultural significance of Theyyam, a ritualistic form of worship from Kerala. An unmistakable umbilical link existed between Theyyam, with its organic accoutrements drawn from nature, and the biodiversity-rich wilderness of the sacred groves (Kaavus) home to Malabar’s pantheistic deities.
Syed Adnan Ahmed is dealing with the culturally and socially sensitive subject of rooster combat where animals are pitted against each other resulting in fatal injuries and pain. “The aim of this project is to create awareness and sensitize people to the threat to sustainability by this blood sport. The project will focus on the impact of rooster combat on the animal as well as the communities involved in breeding and betting.”