“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”
― Gustav Mahler
As the World Heritage Day, 2021 is themed on ‘Complex Pasts: Diverse Future’, Desee Art looks at the
doyen of colour photography in India, Raghubir Singh’s path-breaking oeuvre that celebrates modernism
alongside the traditional manner of representing this part of the world.
Singh (1942-1999), in his more than three-decade-long career, captured the life of Indian rural and urban
people that is always in flux. His photographs burst with colours, when framing the timelessness of
age-old traditions, culture and heritage of the land, are also aesthetically juxtaposed with the eternal vigour
of human lives. Unlike his contemporaries, he celebrated the bliss of colour in his works which rooted his
aesthetic sensibilities in traditional Indian art. Singh was a chronicler of his own time. Like a river, stories
flow from one composition to another and fabricate an enduring legacy of the human spirit.
Photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Gedney, Lee Friedlander and filmmaker Satyajit Ray were
among his major inspirations.
On Singh’s 22nd death anniversary Desee Art pays tribute to this pioneering photo artist.