12 November 2022


Alserkal Arts Foundation

Exploring how to situate, curate and share the photographic in South Asia with the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts

Starts 2:00 pm

Ends 4:00 pm

Venue Alserkal Arts Foundation

Warehouse 50/51

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Alkazi Foundation for the Arts (AFA) presents its forthcoming publication, Unframed: Discovering Image Practices in South Asia (2023), co-published with HarperCollins Publishers India Pvt. Ltd. An indispensable new reader for students and enthusiasts of contemporary photography from South Asia, the volume provides interviews and essays that reflect the depth and complexity of lens-based practice in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. Rahaab Allana, curator and publisher, will also introduce the Alkazi Foundation and its work in exhibition-making and publishing, working collaboratively in India and abroad since 2007. AFA is committed to archiving its collections as champions of early and mid 19th century photography.

The presentation will be followed by a conversation with Sabih Ahmed, Associate Director and Curator of the Ishara Art Foundation, and Nada Raza, Director of Alserkal Arts Foundation.


Rahaab Allana is Curator/Publisher, Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi. A Charles Wallace grant awardee and Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society (UK), he received his MA in Art History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London and was Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Visual Anthropology at University College, London. He is Founding Editor of PIX, a themed digital publication that focuses on South Asian lens-based practices and production, and Founder of ASAP|Art (Alternative South Asia Photography/Art), the region’s first app for presentation and discussion of contemporary creative work. Allana works nationally and internationally with museums, archives, cultural initiatives and institutions, universities and festivals. He recently served as Guest Editor for a Delhi-themed issue of Aperture (Summer 2021). He is on the editorial board of Trans-Asia Photography, the advisory committees of the India-Europe Foundation for New Dialogues (Rome), and the Arts and Culture committee, Asia Society (India Chapter).

The Alkazi Foundation for the Arts (AFA) is a Registered Charitable Trust based in New Delhi, India since 2006. The late Ebrahim Alkazi, the Foundation’s Director, housed a private collection of photographs known as the Alkazi Collection of Photography (ACP), in the Foundation for research purposes. Hence AFA was primarily dedicated to the exploration and study of the cultural history of South Asia. Over the years, AFA has been committed to sharing research on the arts with a focus on photography and theatre. Through a series of scholarly publications, exhibitions, seminars, conferences, workshops, newsletters, blogs and archive visits, AFA has focused extensively on the interlinked subjects of the ‘metropole’ and the ‘colony’ via anthropology, social history as well as art history, thereby exploring cultural histories of South Asia in the post-Independence period. AFA also offers two annual grants in photography, viz., Photobook Grant and Theatre Photography Grant, inviting exceptionally manifested photo-narratives from South Asia.

The core of the Collection comprises works in the form of photographic albums, single prints, paper negatives and glass-plate negatives from India, Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Nepal, Afghanistan, China, Japan and Tibet. These vintage prints document socio-political life in the subcontinent, and contribute to an interdisciplinary discourse around fields of history, architecture, anthropology, topography and archaeology, beginning from the 1840s to 1947 and beyond. The Collection is particularly strong in the areas of archaeology, architectural history, the urban development of colonial cities, military studies, and ethnography.


HarperCollins Publishers India Pvt. Ltd. (formerly known as HarperCollins Publishers India Ltd.), a wholly-owned subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., UK, came into being in 1991 and has completed more than 25 years in India. HarperCollins, as a brand, has completed over 200 years globally. HarperCollins India is one of the world’s largest entertainment-to-education publishers. Harper Design is an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers which focusses on art, aesthetics, visual culture and design thinking.

Image Credit: 'Stardust' (2014-19), Debashish Chakrabarty as part of "Look, Stranger!", Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa (15 December 2019 - 15 January 2020). Photo Credit: Philippe Calia and Sunil Thakkar
Photograph: Philippe Calia and Sunil Thakkar