Monday, September 24, 2012

Talented photo-artist Anup Mathew Thomas

Anup Mathew Thomas works with photography to engage with narratives that are inherent within the context of his site of work; the stories, though instinctively local often reverberate within a more inclusive context. Much of Thomas’s recent work draws on the cultural history of Kerala.

His previous body of work at the GALLERYSKE in 2010 drew on the cultural history of Kerala. ‘View from Conolly’s Plot’ constituted a series of disparate images that tracked various contemporary social phenomena ranging from the increased visibility of the European-returned entrepreneur to the visual practices of a popular religious television channel.

Henry Valentine Conolly was the District Magistrate and then the Collector of British Malabar. He was instrumental in setting up the first teak plantation in the world, a part of which still exists in Nilambur. Conolly set this up in the1840s with the help of Chathu Menon, the Native Sub Conservator, to ensure the steady supply of teak for the growing British demand. The research and initiative during this period resulted in many teak plantations around Nilambur.

His ‘Well basically this is about Thomas Jacob’ was a photographic project on Mathew Thomas’sfather. He lives in Kottayam, Kerala and works for a newspaper. The photographs in this work are a selection from a body of work produced over a period of nine months; most of them shot in Kerala, the others in Tamil Nadu and the United Kingdom.

In 2012, his work was part of the group show ‘Generation in Transition’ at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 2011, the same show was exhibited at the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland. The artist’s work was also shown at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, San Francisco in a group show, titled ‘The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art of India’ (2011).

The same year, the show traveled as a solo exhibition to the Contemporary Image Collective in Cairo. In 2010 he participated in Docu Tour, curated by Bose Krishnamachari at Gallery BMB, Mumbai. In 2009 the artist’s work was part of the show Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie, in Arnolfini, Bristol and ‘The Self and the Other–Portraitures in Contemporary Indian Photography’ at the Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporaneo, Vitoria-Gasteiz (2009-2010) and the Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona (2009).

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