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Impressions Gallery

exhibitions: past

Flatland: A Landscape of Punjab

Max Kandhola

25th Apr - 20th Jun 2010

British Indian photographer Max Kandhola explores themes of memory, migration and Sikh diaspora through large-scale colour photographs of Punjab’s many rivers and uncharted villages.

Flatland is the second installment in Kandhola’s photographic trilogy mapping his family’s heritage, continuing from Illustration of Life, a poignant document of his father’s struggle with cancer first shown in the UK at Impressions in 2003. In Flatland, Kandhola takes as his starting point the Sikh tradition of scattering ashes in running water to symbolize a physical reintroduction of the body back into the land. Returning to his ancestral homeland, he found himself in unfamiliar territory, yet informed by memories passed down to him through his family.

The word Punjab means ‘land of the five rivers’. Kandhola says, ‘these rivers are significant to the history of Punjab; the history and politics of any country is embedded within the memory of land and landscape’. Following the formation of Pakistan in 1947, Punjab now straddles the borders of India and Pakistan.

Kandhola’s photographs are devoid of people, landmarks and typography, and avoid the usual visual references to ethnicity associated with representations of India. His images have been influenced by both the European landscape tradition, and by British suburban gardens, an expression of British identity and a reminder of the importance placed by diasporic Punjabis on the cultivation of land. In this way, Kandhola explores issues of representation and heritage, and how to portray aspects of family history, migration to England, and the post-independence diaspora.

The exhibition also includes Field Notes and Explorations, a collection of drawings, paintings and annotated Polaroids revealing Kandhola’s working process, which have never been exhibited in the UK before.

Max Kandhola (born Birmingham, UK) is a fine art photographer and Head of Photography at Nottingham Trent University. His work has been exhibited internationally, including PhotoInk, Delhi, India (Sept 2009); Central European House of Photography, Slovakia, Bratislava, (2009); the Pingyao Festival, China (2008); Les Rencontres d’Arles, France (2006); the Victoria and Albert Museum (2004); and Fotografie Forum, Frankfurt (2001).  His work is held in the collections of the National Media Museum, Bradford; Government Art Collection; Light Work, Syracuse; and Deutsche Bank Collection, Germany. Publications include Illustration of Life, published by Impressions Gallery and Light Work in association with Dewi Lewis (2003), and the monograph Peter Max Kandhola, published by Autograph and Arts Council England (1996).

Exhibition Resources

Click here to download an information sheet about the exhibition (pdf 856 kb)
Click here
to download an information sheet in Punjabi about the exhibition (pdf 868kb)

On the Outskirts of Saidowal Village

On the Outskirts of Saidowal Village

Max Kandhola

Click on thumbnail below to enlarge

On the Outskirts of Saidowal Village Ludhiana District Between Raikot and Barnala Untitled 1 (Unknown Location) In Search of River Ravi Kapurthala District Fieldnote Painting Fieldnote Polaroid

Comments

Good to see the ’field notes and explorations’ as well as the final photographic images, some remind me of Jem Southams work. I especially enjoyed ’out skirts of Husainiwala..2005 with the train and powerlines contrasting with the vegetation.

Exhibitions Visitor

It was very, very, very interesting, I love them all

Kate aged 6

A couple of really spellbinding images, esp love the path through the fields, breaking all the compositional ’rules’ with horizon centre and path vertically, works beautifully. Also enjoyed the semi abstract sky and trees in the water. Lovely to look at, honesty compels me to say I actually didn’t get’ the immigration theme until I read the notes, but enjoyed images for their own sake anyway ! In particular I also enjoyed some of the water colours very much.

Exhibitions Visitor

Such an interesting and different perspective on India, usually everyone tends to stick to the cities or even the villages, more about the ’other’ These are stunning, especially since you have taken them on a medium format and I know how crazy it is to shoot on them. The colours, the detail, the essence of the land, all of it is so stark. Thank you for showing a true image/ glimpse into my country.

Exhibitions Visitor

A really interesting project, that has resulted in some aesthetically interesting photos. I find your reference to colonial photographers and links to English landscapes really intriguing, but I think it is a shame that this link was not more clearly illustrated. Your project is documentation of a great journey both physically, mentally and emotionally and I think it is a great shame that you were not able to show this more obviously for the benefit of the viewer. I would have liked to have been able to view the process in a more coherent manner, so that I the viewer could have joined you on this journey of discovery.

Exhibitions Visitor

My husband has experienced the Punjab region, but your landscapes through ’secondary eyes’ give a beautiful vivid panorama of it, Excellent, Thank you for exhibits

Exhibitions Visitor

Always a joy to see research work ( paintings, notes, sample photographs) of a photography project would be nice if more photographers chose to show them also wonderful colour and sense of calm in the prints.

Exhibitions Visitor

The sketches on the wall and photo-prints really added to the work, Inspiring !

Exhibitions Visitor

Amazing captures especially the paddy field with a small pathway in the middle of the frame. It’s great how you made the scenes look vivid.

Exhibitions Visitor

When I travelled to Kurukshetra and Ludhiana in 2004, the similarity to the English landscape also stuck me- especially seeing poplars or trees that looked just like them, all planted in a row (or left on the edge of a field) Made me feel nicely nostalgic and surprised. Lots more thoughts, but those are the ones I wanted to share, Thank you

Exhibitions Visitor

I’ve always promised myself a visit to India. Maybe it is now time. I love your work.

Exhibitions Visitor

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