Short artist statement:
For this series, I traveled to one of the last princely states in India, also my family’s ancestral home.
Rampur is a small city that has the highest Muslim population in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous and poorest state. Its former rulers, called Nawabs, valued culture, but also ruled with clenched fists.
In 2019, I traveled to India twice. I discovered a city, culture, and country that I never knew. I visited my uncle, and learned that Pathans, my family’s ethnic lineage, were considered a warrior race: admired, but also vilified.
My photographs explore the city’s architecture and play with the formality of portraiture popular in the pre-world war era. I wanted to show the city’s beauty, and its residents’ elegance, which seem particularly important now. In the US, Muslims are often portrayed as terrorists or refugees. In India, they live under the shadow of Hindu nationalism.
Photographic Resource Center’s Exposure Exhibition
Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery
Worcester State University
July 9 to Aug. 20.
Artist talk: July 13.
Griffin Museum at WinCam.
August 28 – November 29, 2021.
A Place I Never Knew (India) — Tira Khan