Ajin Thomas reviews BEARING WITNESS, a report on sexual violence in South Chhattisgarh
Author: Ajin K ThomasAjin K Thomas grew up in Malappuram, Kerala, and currently lives in Bombay.
When I started observing your photographs a few days ago, I stood witness to this very manifestation of dissent, and sensed an inchoate breeding of camaraderie—an unsettling urge to respond—taking shape between us. I did not resist. I kept writing, thinking that I was writing directly to you: a peripatetic nomad. But to this very moment, I do not know you. When I call you a nomad, I am trying to describe your photographs—the itinerant obliqueness, an almost euphoric derangement of your frame. I wrote as if I was corresponding with a boundless romantic, myself being one in the first place. You narrated stories to me through your images; I responded with words.
I remember hearing you speak after your release from prison after more than nine years. Keeping aside the mental and physical torture, those years gifted you solitude, within the cocoons of which you could read and write quite a lot, you had said. Yes, solitude is indeed the most cherished thing for a reader.
Amar Kanwar began as a documentary filmmaker, later expanding his practice to multi-channel video installation. While he works strictly with documentary and archival images, Kanwar employs various methods of editing and presentation to exceed their immediate facticity, conjuring atmosphere, underlying motives, and furtive histories. This is a (re)viewing diary of Amar’s latest work The Sovereign Forest