The complexities of urban spaces let nobody experience them – their structures and their people – in the same way. Yet these places always have certain images and connotations attached to them, held by inhabitants, outsiders or anyone in between. How then do we decide upon the “truest” representation of a city? How do we condense the histories and lived realities of each street and every neighbourhood into singular names and images? What sort of personal and collective identities do such representations anchor? These are questions “Pata” wishes to explore.
The works in the exhibition focus on urban neighbourhoods and the diverse ways in which they are depicted. Ashish Dobhal’s photographs taken in and around the “urban village” of Khirki – located right opposite some of the biggest malls in Delhi – capture the complex social and physical landscape of the area. Paromita Vohra’s documentary, ‘Where’s Sandra?’, is a playful take on Bandra, its history of Catholics, and the stereotyping of women belonging to the place. Akhil Katyal turns Delhi neighbourhoods into adjectives describing his relationship with both an unnamed beloved and the capital city, when he writes, “He was as arrogant as a Chattarpur farmhouse”. Parikshit Rao’s photographs ponder upon the ‘grey’ space of Navi Mumbai neighbourhoods, their state of being somewhere between Mumbai and not-Mumbai, between urban and suburban. Lastly, Amrita Pritam’s “Mera Pata” wonders if it is possible to not let any objective markers define us and instead build an address and an identity out of one’s (dis)location.
Ashish Dobhal, Paromita Vohra, Akhil Katyal, Parikshit Rao