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Exhibition: Imaging the Isle Across: Vintage Photography from Ceylon

The London-based Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in collaboration with the National Museum and Archaeological Survey of India will be presenting the exhibition: Imaging the Isle Across: Vintage Photography from Ceylon (see poster here: India.jpg). The exhibition will be inaugurated on Saturday, 26 September 2015 at 5pm at the National Museum Auditorium. The exhibition is a partner event of the Delhi Photo Festival, 2015.

The history of photography in South Asia is a story of itinerant practitioners, seeking to expand the eye of the lens by exposure to the farthest corners of the world. Though Ceylon came under British rule only in 1815, it followed the maritime expansion of the Portuguese, the Dutch, Danes and the French – the first of which identified it in their sea-charts as Zeilon, from which the modern name Ceylon was derived and maintained till 1972.  Featuring vintage photographs drawn primarily from the Alkazi Collection of Photography, this exhibition takes its viewers through a mapping of sites as well as visual tropes and themes emerging from early photography via diverse mediums of production such as albums, illustrated books and postcards. These traces remain foundational in generating a imagistic canon that etched the life of a swiftly transforming country, as did the coming of a modern, pictorial language instituted by Lionel Wendt, the art photographer and patron.

We are extendedly grateful to the contributions and support of the University of Cambridge, Centre of South Asian Studies; the India-Sri Lanka Foundation, Ismeth Raheem, Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes, Dominic Sansoni and Anoli Perera.

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