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Group Exhibition

»Indian Storytellers«

Passion and Persistence

Manoj Jain, Ranbir Kaleka, Dinesh Khanna, Amit Pasricha, Cop Shiva

Currently closed / Vorübergehend geschlossen

Let us stay here, and wait for the future
to arrive, for grandchildren to speak
in forked tongues, to speak about the country
we once came from.
From the Immigrant songs by Tishani Doshi

The carved decorations on the pillars with a clear lined chair waiting to be occupied and the walls that tell the story of time make a perfect stage to tell a story; so does the gentle boy holding a peacock and the wrestler posing in front of the tiger. These photographs, almost imperceptibly, shift the inevitable associations to Indian sojourns and reinterpret people, their life, offering you a view from the gaze of experienced insiders. The gallery UNDER THE MANGO TREE is pleased to present the group exhibition of selected photographs and photo-based works of Ranbir Kaleka, Dinesh Khanna, Amit Pasricha, Manoj Jain and Cop Shiva.

This exhibition explores photography and its practices in India. It tells a fascinating narrative of the creative impact and focuses on the significance of color in urban or rural spaces and the enduring topicality of history to works that do not primarily draw on documentary means but instead choose striking pictorial contexts to formulate the outlook of people. Each one of the artists in his own way challenges the stereotypical image of India in West, insisting on a collaborative dialog, while concentrating on sharing the power of image making.

The exhibition relates in five main divisions of interest; each individual section documents a kaleidoscope of an Indian story, which continues to be characterized by traditional values, by fragility of transformation, by spaces unfolding moods and details from within, alongside an utopian imagination that has been evolving through travel, technological development and the wider world of communication.

Boy with a peacock © Manoj Jain, courtesy UTMT
Mandvi, Gujarat © Dinesh Khanna, courtesy UTMT
Urban Utopia © Ranbir Kaleka, courtesy UTMT
From the series Urban Estasy © Cop Shiva, courtesy UTMT
Girl from the Mountains © Manoj Jain, courtesy UTMT
Woman in her room, Nabha Village © Amit Pasricha, courtesy UTMT

Dinesh Khanna has been a freelance photographer for over 25 years with an eclectic mix of commercial and personal work. His works tell of the splendor of colors and the cultural diversity of the Indian continent. The exhibition presents architectural facades and inner spaces that are currently still existing and offer to express the photographer´s interest in the flowing nature of colors. Included in the show are works, which, in very rare silent moments, unfold their exclusive inherent mood. The exhibition provides an insight into Dinesh´s practice to cultivate a fluid position between the fields of color, spaces and human. A few years ago, Khanna co-founded the Nazar Foundation in Delhi, a non-profit foundation, to promote the photographic arts. The Nazar Foundation also presents the Delhi Photo Festival.

Manoj Jain works in black and white and often takes an anthropological approach in his work, in which explorations of internal regions in India and their history play an important role. One of his visited areas was the Bastar region in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. The majority of the residents of this district belong to the indigenous population who still live in tribal communities. It is a world that is disappearing, being displaced by the social and economic developments in India. “How do you communicate big hopes, deep desires, great fears, grand passions? Words are the last things you need“. The Works shown in the exhibition exalt the slowness and fragility of the moment, bearing witness to an isolated but a simple world. His black-and-white photographs alternate between an enchanted, playful intimacy and a sharp gaze.

Ranbir Kaleka‘s digital paintings, are almost surrealist in their treatment of scenes from everyday life. The artist, originally trained as a painter, uses here a wide variety of artistic media for his picture compositions; painting, photography and also the modern digital possibilities for image generation. Here you can see two of his pictures which open up utopian imagery with a dystopian impression, in which we can go on a journey of discovery.
The pictures seem universal, but on closer inspection we recognize details that clearly refer to their Indian origin. Ranbir Kaleka is a contemporary Indian multi-media artist based in New Delhi whose work often centers around themes of identity, sexuality, nature and tradition. Initially trained as a painter, his work has increasingly animated two-dimensional canvases within experimental film narrative sequences, and has been exhibited in major international galleries, Biennale and museums

Amit Pasricha is a third generation photographer, who spent his childhood helping his grandfather to work on glass plates and negatives and to color black and white photographs by hand. Today Pasricha is a luminary in the field of panoramic photography. In 2014 he received the German Photo Book Prize for his work “The Sacred India”. In 2016 he published “India at Home” – a study on Indian life within their four walls. Believing that everything in our world is interconnected, he examines the lifestyles and and the aesthetics of personal spaces across all possible social structures in the country. Some of the images from this series can be seen in the exhibition alongside large landscape panoramas that together paint the picture of the Indian view of life. With his deep interest in Indian heritage, he has set a goal of raising awareness about the decay of lesser-known monuments in India and to fight for preservation of these monuments in India through his social-media campaign “India Lost and Found”, initiated in 2018.

Influenced by the magical realism art movement, in which reality is shown through a curved mirror, Cop Shiva documents the complexity of rural and urban India. Focusing on people and portraiture as a genre, fascinated with the idea of masquerade and the roles people play in public and private, his portfolio includes intimate portraits of rural migrants, street performers and others living on the fringes of Indian society. Cop Shiva portrays his protagonists, placing them in front of wall paintings that were commissioned to beautify the urban image. In that moment the street becomes the studio where reality and dream coexist. For him the religious ceremonies, which are found in abundance in India, also belong to this group of subjects. This is about an act of transformation of the human. In the name of faith, the bodies become the place of the ritual and the streets of the cities and villages become stages of connection with the divine. Beginning his professional life as a police officer in 2001, his present artist name Cop Shiva refers to his first profession. Since 2010 he took up photography as his main job. This summer he was supposed to be – as the only Indian photographer – taking part in the Helsinki Photo Festival. Unfortunately, Corona got in the way.

Covid-19 notes: Please note that all visitors are expected to wear a mouth and nose mask in the exhibition rooms. A maximum of 8 people can be in the gallery at the same time. Please leave your contact details at the entrance. The event will be carried out in accordance with the SARS-CoV-2 Infection Protection Ordinance of the State of Berlin, which is currently in force.

Framework program

Friday, Nov 6, 2020, 4:30 – 7 pm
Opening Reception
With a written introduction by Heiko Sievers, Regional Director Goethe-Institut South Asia 2010-2018 (New Delhi) and freelance photographer (Berlin).

Saturday & Sunday, Nov 7 & 8, 2020
schöneberger art 2020
Extended opening hours for schöneberger art 2020:
Saturday, Nov 7: 2 – 8 pm + 
Sunday, Nov 8: 12 – 6 pm

Further framework events such as an authentic Indian Dinner »SIX SPICES« and a Concert are in the making. Please visit the gallery website for up-to-date infos!


Nov 7, 2020 — Jan 17, 2021
Opening Reception: Friday, Nov 6, 4:30 – 7 pm
Framework program: please see above

Merseburger Straße 14, 10823 Berlin
[District: Schöneberg | Borough: Tempelhof-Schöneberg]

Admission free

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PiB Guide Nº52 JAN/FEB 2024 © PiB (Photography in Berlin). COVER PHOTO & page 5: Bernhard Fuchs, o.T. (Nr. 26, aus MÜHL, 2014-2019) © Bernhard Fuchs, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Solo show »MÜHL« at ROBERT MORAT GALERIE in Berlin-Mitte, read more on page 4 & 5! +++ PiB Guide Editor / V.i.S.d.P. / Art Direction: Julia Schiller · ele studio berlin +++ Printed on 100% recycling paper in Berlin-Köpenick by altmann-druck, many thanks!

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»PiB — Photography in Berlin« | PiB’s website, PiB’s weekly E-Newsletter, and the bi-monthly published PiB Guide: page 12 & 13 from the PiB Guide Nº15 Nov/Dec 2017; feat. the exhibition Evelyn Hofer »Cities, Interiors, Still Lifes. Photographs 1962 – 1997« at Galerie Springer Berlin; image credits: Queensboro Bridge, New York, 1964 / Coney Island, New York, 1965 / Girl with Bicycle, Dublin, 1966, all 3 photos © Evelyn Hofer, Estate Evelyn Hofer.
»PiB — Photography in Berlin« | PiB’s website, PiB’s weekly E-Newsletter, and the bi-monthly published PiB Guide: page 12 & 13 from the PiB Guide Nº15 Nov/Dec 2017; feat. the exhibition Evelyn Hofer »Cities, Interiors, Still Lifes. Photographs 1962 – 1997« at Galerie Springer Berlin; image credits: Queensboro Bridge, New York, 1964 / Coney Island, New York, 1965 / Girl with Bicycle, Dublin, 1966, all 3 photos © Evelyn Hofer, Estate Evelyn Hofer.

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