Rahaab Allana: Ephemeral: New Futures for Passing Images

  • 12.30pm - 2pm

  • Hunter Building, Hunter Lecture Theatre (017)
    74 Lauriston Place
    EH3 9DF

Chaired by Dr. Yuthika Sharma

Histories of image production, reception and even exhibition are diversifying across the globe, and with the infinite expansion of digital media, representations are evolving too. Given this premise, which images or cultural traces do we acknowledge as legitimate testimonies of our time, and have they become more inclusive? The contours of location, region, language and even ethnicity present critical vectors through which practitioners, curators and archivists unpack alternative or ‘other’ histories, powerfully influencing the forms photography has adopted over time. Such researches have reframed hierarchies – and cast new light on the historical privileging of visual typologies.

Given the mass of collections and testimonials that have escaped our readings through time, I look at a few exhibitions that spotlight new archives and commissions, that may alert us to the value of personalized recordings and their cultural resonances. The talk therefore moves between the exposure of developing and unseen archives, and contemporary reconfigurations – the ephemera and iconoclasm of photo-media and mixed imaging formats through analogue-digital pairings.


Rahaab Allana is Curator/Publisher of the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in New Delhi; Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society in London and Honorary Research Fellow at the University College, London (November 2018 onwards). He currently serves on the Advisory Committees of the Foundation for International Dialogue (Rome); the India International Center, New Delhi; the Kaladarshan Art Committee, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi; and is Advisory/Juror for the prestigious Prix Pictet Award, London/Switzerland/Paris; The Mack Book Award (London); as well as the Chennai Photo Biennale (India). He was previously on the Cultural Committee of the Alliance Francaise de Delhi for 2 years.

In the UK, he recently was Consulting Curator for the exhibition titled Illuminating India, Photography 1857-2017 (October 2017 – March 2018) at the Science Museum, London

Rahaab is the author of a publication on World Heritage Sites, titled Inherited Spaces, Inhabited Places (2010) produced by the Ministry of External Affairs; and has been Guest Editor for reputable publications such as Marg (Aperture and Identity) and the Lalit Kala Akademi (Depth of Field) in 2009 and 2012 respectively, looking at the history of art and photography in India. He has written and edited several volumes on photography for the Alkazi Collection for Mapin publishers as well. His forthcoming essay on the History of 'Photography and Museum Practices' will be published later this year as part of an edited volume by the renowned art critic, Gayatri Sinha; and he is currently working on a Photography Reader for S. Asia. In an educational capacity, Rahaab is also the Founding Editor of PIX, one of India’s first theme-based photography quarterlies and exhibitionary platform supported by the Goethe Institute (India), and from time to time by the Japan Foundation, Pro Helvetia, ICCR and British Council, with issues devoted to unseen works and new writings from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and India.