IMAGINED HOMELAND - SHARBENDU DE
Exhibitions, 5 - 31 August 2019
HIN BUS DEPOT
31A, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town,Penang
The Tibeto-Burman Lisu tribe has been living inside the dense forests of Namdapha spread over 20,000 sq. km from India to Myanmar. Their ancestors first settled in the forests well before the India-Myanmar international border was demarcated in 1972. In 1983, the Indian government converted their native land into Namdapha National Park & Tiger Reserve on the India-Myanmar border, and called the Lisus ‘poachers’ and ‘encroachers’ triggering decades of neglect and human rights abuse. They have no roads, electricity, schools, doctors, phone network, etc to date. To reach the nearest town for essential supplies entails 3-6 days of arduous trekking. The children die without treatment and grow up without education while the world is oblivious of their existence. Yet, to abandon the forest the Lisus’ call ‘home’ is inconceivable. How does a community respond with kindness and hope in the face of adversity? Over the last seven years, I gradually reflected on the Lisu way of life — philosophy and magnanimity of spirit.
Sharbendu De is a lens-based artist, academic and a writer. He is the 2018 winner of the Feature Shoot Emerging Photographer of the Year, was a Finalist, LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards 2019, and was shortlisted for Lucie Foundation’s 2018 Emerging Artist of the Year Scholarship. His seven-year-long project Imagined Homeland received the 2018 Lucie Foundation’s Photo Made Scholarship and an Art Research Grant from the India Foundation for the Arts (2017). Imagined Homeland was exhibited at FORMAT (2019), MOPLA (2019), Indian Photography Festival (2018), Tblisi Photo Festival (2018), Voies Off Awards at Les Recontres d’Arles (2018) and Eyes on Main Street Wilson, USA (2018); it was shortlisted for Athens Photo Festival (2018), Lucie Foundation’s Photo Made Scholarship (2017), and was a Nominee, 'PhotogrVphy Grant (2017). De has an MA in Photojournalism from the University of Westminster, London (2010) and presently teaches documentary photography and Visual Arts at prestigious Universities and cultural institutions in India.
This project is supported by an Art Research Grant from the India Foundation for the Arts, and Lucie Foundation.
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