Arpita Shah's Nalini is a series of work that focuses on her mother, her grandmother and herself. It explores the intimacy between the three of them and how their histories, memories and physical bodies are entangled and connected to one another.
"My grandmother was born in India but grew up in Africa for 12 years before moving back to India. My mother and I were also born in India and have lived in multiple other countries before settling in the U.K. Although I visit my grandmother every couple of years in India, I have realised how little I really know about what she was like as a young woman, her memories, experiences and what her relationships were like with her own mother and her daughter."
Nalini is a personal journey for Arpita which has allowed her to reconnect with the past through her maternal lineage. The process includes discoveries of old forgotten family photographs, shared and individual memories of objects, places, and family stories. The portraiture process itself also psychically connects Arpita to her mother and grandmother allowing her to visually explore how intertwined their lives really are.
Arpita Shah is a photographic artist and educator based in Edinburgh, Scotland. She works between photography and film, exploring the fields where culture and identity meet. As an India-born artist, Shah spent an earlier part of her life living between India, Ireland and the Middle East before settling in the UK. This migratory experience is reflected in her practice,which often focuses on the notion of home, belonging and shifting cultural identities.
Arpita's work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Detroit Center of Contemporary Photography (2013); Tramway in Glasgow (2014); Focus Festival in Mumbai, India (2015); Chobi Mela IX in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2017); and Autograph APB in London (2018). She is also co-founder of Focàs Scotland, an initiative which supports local and international emerging photographers. She is the recipient of the 2019 Light Work + Autograph ABP Artist-in-Residence programme which she will undertake in September of 2019.
An exhibition minigraph is available with an essay by Emilia Terracciano titled 'Nalini: Memory of Things'. Emilia is a writer and art historian based in London and Oxford. She is a postdoctoral fellow at Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, where she teaches the course Globalisation, Photography and the Documentary Turn. She is the author of Art and Emergency: Modernism in Twentieth-Century India.
Exhibition Tour with the Artist: Saturday 9th March at 3pm. Free.
In Conversation: Anne M. Lyden, Chief Curator of Photography at National Galleries of Scotland, will be in conversation with the Artist on Saturday 6th April at 3pm. Free.
A portfolio of images from Nalini are featured in the new issue of NOTES 5, more info here. She will give talks on the work as part of Redeye at Sheffield Hallam University on 19th February, more info here and at Midlands Arts Centre in March organised by GRAIN. More Information: Photo Networks Scotland.
Images: © Arpita Shah