Artists > Samar Jodha

Samar Jodha

Collateral Exhibition


Samar Singh Jodha is a photographer and installation artist who, over the last 25 years, has been using photography, film and public art projects to address various issues such as community development and conservation. Some of these include: BHOPAL – A Silent Picture is a multimedia installation which documents the aftermath of the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984. The installation is housed in a 40-foot container, and has visited many locations globally, most notably the London Olympics. OUTPOST is a visual disquisition on spontaneous individual expression in a rapidly homogenising global culture. Discarded containers fashioned into habitat by miners were deployed in a pictorial trope at the 55th Venice Biennale.

Samar is a regular speaker on TED and TEDx including speaking at TEDxVienna on the artist’s role in sustainability and capacity building.

Artist Statement
I first came across members of the Tai Phake tribe in the winter of 2004, while driving along the historic Stilwell road from Southwest China into India’s cloistered northeast on a documentary project. Over the years I spent a large part of my engagement with members of this community in Phaneng, a small village in upper Assam. Due to various reasons, their numbers a mere 1500 today and is on the verge of extinction.

My involvement in Phaneng has been with an education project, rebuilding a monastery, and a unique eco-tourism project that has built local capacity as well as raised incomes. My proximity to the Tai Phake community, their trust in me, the years spent documenting various facets of their life, all this gradually led me towards this large format portraiture project.

The structure of the exhibition serves as a metaphoric journey through the darkening world of Phaneng’s tribal inhabitants who have lived without electricity, running water and most modern amenities. Ironically, they also live in close proximity to modern coal mining projects that are slowly swallowing their forests and way of life.

The exhibition’s soundscape has been created with recordings from Phaneng and conveys another facet of their world. A people and a culture that may soon fade away from existence and only appear as a distant memory.


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