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Art as Witness


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About the Author

Parthiv Shah is a renowned photo-artist based in Delhi, India, who has curated national and international exhibitions on art and issues of social concern. His photographs of the mill workers of western India were published in Working in the Mill No More. Shah is the Founder-Director of the Centre for Media and Alternative Communication (CMAC), Delhi. Sana Das is presently the director of a journalism course in Bangalore called 'Archaeology of the Media' run by Educational Trust, Samvada, and is continuing a Ph.D. at the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi. She has been associated with Amnesty International India, Heinrich Boll Foundation, policy research, and the study of social movements. Contributors (photographers/artists/writers from Bangladesh, India, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, USA): Shahidul Alam, Temsula Ao, K.M. Asad, Lipton Bhau, Lachit Bordolai, Suhas Borker, Suvendu Chatterjee, Sana Das, Kanak Mani Dixit, Gowhar Fazili, Iftikhar Gilani, Vrinda Grover, Nandita Haksar, Salima Hashmi, Sohrab Hura, Sonia Jabbar, E.M. Jose, Showkat Kathjoo, Harikrishna Katragadda, Sabrina Lall, Saroj Mohanty, Swapan Nayak, Shahzad Noorani, Chittaroopa Palit, Daniel Pepper, Sara Rahbar, Vibhuti Narain Rai, Abdul Rahman Roslan, Inder Salim, Parthiv Shah, Mukul Sharma, Nandini Sundar, and Kian Tajbakhsh


This is the stuff of art as well as a rare sort of history-the history of interior, truly invisible, experience. And, as unselfconsciously good writing, it is already art, giving us access to what would otherwise have remained unrepresented, startling us into looking at the content of this book in a new and more difficult light. It compels us to reflect not only upon the nature of prisons, books and cigarettes (I was reminded of Jean Genet's 1950 film, Un Chant d'Amour), but also makes us think about what it means to be free and unfree, afraid and unafraid. Our thoughts hang together, though, around that unique image of a dictionary being smoked away secretly in a prison. -- Aveek Sen Caravan Magazine

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