Thursday, June 27, 2013

‘Between Princely India and the British Raj' at ROM, Toronto

‘Between Princely India and the British Raj: The Photography of Raja Deen Dayal’ at Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is a feature exhibition that highlights the photographic work of the practitioner, considered among the most renowned photographers in 19th-century India. 

The exhibition takes place in the ROM’s Level 3, Hilary and Galen Weston Wing, from April 20, 2013 through until January 12th 2014. It’s presented in association with The Alkazi Collection of Photography, New Delhi. The showcase is inspired by a major new publication, Raja Deen Dayal: Artist-Photographer in 19th-century India (Mapin and The Alkazi Collection of Photography, 2013), co-authored by the exhibition curators, ROM Senior Curator Dr. Deepali Dewan & art historian Dr. Deborah Hutton, of The College of New Jersey. This publication, and by extension the exhibition, are based on almost a decade of archival research.

The exhibition brings together more than 100 works of art, culled from three major international collections: the ROM’s collection of large, leather-bound photo albums produced by the firm Raja Deen Dayal & Sons and photographs from the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts and The Alkazi Collection of Photography, New Delhi. There will also be a vintage Dallmeyer camera, once belonging to Dayal’s studio, on view. 

In order to accurately capture Dayal’s professional trajectory, the show consists of four thematic sections. The Business of Photography lays out the inner workings of the firm of Raja Deen Dayal & Sons including the types of commissions they received and how much they charged. Civil Works and Princely States examines how Dayal’s earliest photographs were produced in the context of colonial public works. Royal Photographer: Hyderabad explores Dayal’s role as court photographer to Mahbub Ali Khan, the sixth Nizam, one of the wealthiest men of his time.  The Art of Portraiture shows how Dayal’s various studios thrived in and indeed helped produce a modern age with new ways of perceiving the self.

Dr. Deepali Dewan, ROM Senior Curator, says, “Through this exhibition, ROM visitors will experience the legacy of a photographer who captured an important moment in India’s history. The vintage prints are stunning and provide a viewing experience we don’t have access to in our digital age.”

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