Jyoti Bhatt | Photographs from Rural India: D-53 Defence Colony, New Delhi

19 April - 14 June 2014

An exhibition of photographs by Indian artist, and renowned printmaker, Jyoti Bhatt. The 48 images in this exhibition chronicle the artists’s travels through rural environments in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar, from 1967 to 1995. Bhatt has been actively engaged with photography since the mid 60s, and these images constitute an important chapter in the history of photography in India, demonstrating great artistic sensibility, creativity and a unique understanding of traditional cultures. Each print can be seen as an artwork in its own right, as well as a historical document and visual aide to Bhatt’s paintings and prints.

Bhatt began documenting the folk and tribal culture of rural India in the summer of 1967. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan had organised a seminar in Bombay on the folk arts of Gujarat and invited Bhatt to participate. He traveled widely, visiting villages and tribal regions, photographing folk arts and craft traditions in their original environments, along with the people who inhabited these spaces.

Jyoti Bhatt was born in 1934 in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. He grew up in a stimulating environment, where his father managed the educational institute ‘Shishu-Vihar’, which trained and guided young art students. This proved highly influential as Bhatt took an interest in drawing at an early age and went on to study and then teach at numerous art schools across the world. He studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda from 1950 to 1956, under NS Bendre, KG Subramanyan and Sankho Choudhuri. During these years he also learnt the art of fresco painting at Banasthali Vidyapith in Rajasthan and began teaching. In 1961 Bhatt won an Italian government scholarship to study at the Academia Di Belle Arti in Naples for two years. From Italy, he went to the Pratt Institute in New York, where he had received a Fulbright fellowship. He was trained in the graphic arts and began to take a particular interest in printmaking.