Acts of Appearance (Installation View)

Gauri Gill2015

Chennai Photo Biennale

Chennai Photo Biennale
Chennai, India

Gauri Gill's work showcased at the Government College of Fine Arts during Chennai Photo Biennale 2019. Acts of Appearance is an ongoing body of work that assumed its form within a village of Adivasi paper mache artists from the Kokna tribe in Jawhar district. In 2014, Gill collaborated and commissioned acclaimed brothers Subhas and Bhagvan Dharma Kadu, sons of the legendary craftsman Dharma Kadu, along with their families and fellow volunteers, to create a new set of masks—not of gods or demons as per local tradition and lore, but rather as representing beings existing in contemporary reality. The interpretive creations were to come from them, with the suggestion that they embody different ages, distinctive individuals, the varied rasas (emotions) like love, sadness, fear or anger, and those experiences common to all humans, such as sickness, relationships, or aging. In the course of dialogue, animals were naturally understood to be a part of this universe. Later, precious objects entered the frame, as they are believed have sentience too. Inhabiting these masks, a cast of ‘actor’ volunteers (including the artists) would later improvise and enact different 'real' scenarios, 'across dreaming and waking states’, in and around the village.


  • Title: Acts of Appearance (Installation View)
  • Creator: Gauri Gill
  • Date Created: 2015
  • Location: Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai
  • Location Created: Chennai
  • Type: Photograph
  • Original Source: Artist Website
  • External Link: Chennai Photo Biennale website
  • Exhibition title: An unbearable lightness of being
  • Exhibition Description: A sense of dystopia, unease, maybe even giggly laughter, hysteria, melancholy, or even pictures of the unnoticed
  • CPB Edition: 2019
  • Artist's biography: Gauri Gill is a Delhi based photographer. Various ongoing projects of her highlight her sustained belief in collaboration and ‘active listening’; and in using photography as a memory practice. Gill’s work addresses the twinned Indian identity markers of class and community as determinants of mobility and social behavior; within which there is empathy, surprise, and a human concern over issues of survival.

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