Indo-French photography exhibition brings art to people

New Delhi, March 4: A walk around the inner circle of Connaught Place here will now be a visual journey across cities, festivals and continents, with the Embassy of France in India, in collaboration with the New Delhi Municipal Council, Tuesday opening a public photography exhibition.

“Fete de la Photo”, which will continue till March 31, aims to democratise photography by taking it outside gallery spaces to the people.

The festival intends to encourage initiatives of art in public spaces, and celebrates Franco-Indian collaboration in creative practices.

“The idea is to bring art to the people, so that a large number of the population can have access to it. I was awestruck to see the response and the enthusiasm of the people. There were people standing in front of images and getting themselves clicked. That was the aim, and I am glad to see the response,” Francois Richier, Ambassador of France to India, said.

The festival features a bevy of photographers, including Gauri Gill, Raghu Rai, Pablo Bartholomew, Shome Basu, Parthiv Shah, Xavier Zimbardo, Denis Felix and Ajay Talwar. It focuses on topics as diverse as astro photography, a series on Paris, fashion photography and also Bollywood.

The festival has close to 200 pictures by 22 photographers.

“This is the first time I am exhibiting my work which is not about India. It is great to see how people are turning up in large numbers. It is high time we integrate work with the public in a way they have access to it without tickets,” said Raghu Rai, whose series “Raghu Rai in Paris” has been displayed at the Central Park in Connaught Place.

Spread within and around the heart of the national capital in areas like Regal cinema, Jantar Mantar, Rajiv Chowk metro station, Central Park and the National Museum, the festival seeks to reach out to the public hoping to surprise them by finding art in places where they least expect it.

Mangu Singh, managing director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, said the exhibition also marks the strengthening of cultural ties with France.

“Close to 5,00,000 commuters use the Metro daily and such exhibits can reach to a large number of people,” he said at the unveiling of photographer Pablo Bartholomew’s exhibition “Film Industry: Then and Now” at the Rajiv Chowk Metro station, which will continue till March 20.

“This is an excellent use of public space. We should come up with more such initiatives, as this is the only way we can make art accessible to people,” Rohit Bhagat, a student, told IANS.

IANS