DBPFP21: Poulomi Basu

Poulomi Basu is nominated for her book Centralia published by Dewi Lewis in 2020

Poulomi Basu From Centralia, 2020 © Poulomi Basu Courtesy of the artist

DBPFP21: Poulomi Basu

Poulomi Basu is nominated for her book Centralia published by Dewi Lewis in 2020

For me, photography is a means to an end rather than an end in itself. I quite like to take advantage of that elasticity of photography.

Indian transmedia artist, photographer and activist Poulomi Basu (b. 1983, India) has created a complex and brutally effective body of work that uncovers the violent, largely unreported, conflict between a marginalised community of indigenous people fighting under the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) and the Indian state.

Mostly shot in central India, Centralia is the outcome of a long-term project focused on the region, but also about the limitations of traditional documentary photography to expose the overt and multi-layered reality of contemporary conflicts. Referencing dystopian tropes of science-fiction, Basu destabilizes the conventional linear order of narratives to create nuanced work that allows a view of a future where current events have reached their climax. To this end, Basu uses a multitude of image types; from cinematic double exposures of dark landscapes, staged portraits and sourced image material, to shocking photographs of lethal crime scenes, testimonies and mugshots of fallen, often female, revolutionary fighters alongside images showing the traditional festivities of the rural communities.

By carefully orchestrating the juxtapositions of this visual material, Basu’s book reveals the normalization of violence and the mechanisms of conflict from many different perspectives.

The project further addresses wider issues of environmental and climate justice, the role of women often battling inequality on multiple fronts and the representation of these conflicts in Western societies.

The exhibition catalogue for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2021

Exhibition Catalogue

£24.99, special exhibition price £19.99.
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