India Shining, India Crying

2004-2008 - India
A story of contemporary India
Ambitious, gigantic and under international scrutiny, India has a plan: to become an economic giant among the world's nations. After centuries of submission under Islamic rule then the British Empire and finally fifty years of sluggish independance, the Asian elephant has awakened. Today the economic reforms begun in 1991 become clearly visible. But the machine of progress is impatient and greedy. Like a steamroller, this unbridled development ignores the destructive consequences it delivers upon the poorest.
Out of the booming Indian middle class, I got interested, specifically, first of all in the mining industry which severely affects the native populations, called the Adivasis. /.../
Personal projects
/.../ Then came the farmers, whose situation declines with each passing year, and who are no longer a priority for the authorities who concentrate all their focus on the industrial and service sectors. For cotton farmers the 'steamroller' is the liberalization of the agricultural markets.
China has its Mingongs. India has its Adivasis (or Tribals), its Dalits (formerly called Untouchables) and its OBCs (Other Backward Classes). Despite the rights and constitutional protections given since Independance to these communities, contempt, lies and exploitation remain rife.
These « second zone » populations harvest the abundant rotten fruit of the current economic development, surviving far from the golden bubble of the rapidly metamorphosing cities.
Two Indias. Rural and urban. Between which a gulf is widening inexorably.

To read pictures’ captions click on the images hereunder.

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  • First version of this project was produced for an exhibition by Visa pour l’Image festival in 2005 and the photo lab Processus, under the title “Oeil Public Agency: 10 years – Etat de Lieux”. This project India Shining, India Crying also received a supporting grant from the Plastic Arts Department, French Ministry for Culture and an acquisition of 15 prints for the National Collection of Contemporary Art in 2005.
  • Second version of this project was produced by the cultural department of the French embassy in India for the photo festival India Photo Now – IPN08, in 2008. Opening exhibition happened at the Bose Pacia gallery in Calcutta, followed by a tour in several French Cultural Centers of India (Chandigarh, Pondicherry…), and tour closing show was at the Romain Rolland gallery in New Delhi.
  • Other related exhibitions: Tops festival, China, 2008 / Seven Star Gallery, Berlin, 2009.

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