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Capitol Studios, Connaught Place, Delhi | Ram Rahman 1986
Capitol Studios, Connaught Place, Delhi © Ram Rahman 1986

Ram Rahman

People trust artists more than they trust politicians. I think it is important that people who are in the public realm take a stand — have an opinion. They are not running for votes.

Ram Rahman

Photographer, artist, curator, designer, and activist Ram Rahman initially studied physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later, Rahman completed a degree in Graphic Design from Yale University’s School of Art in 1979. Born in 1955, Rahman has shown his photographs in individual and group shows in India and around the world. His most recent shows include at The Pompidou Centre, Paris, 2017, Houston Fotofest, 2018, Gwangju Biennale, 2018 and the Chennai PhotoBiennale 2019.‘Bioscope: Scenes from an Eventful Life’presented by Bodhi Art at Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi, in 2008. Among the shows Rahman has curated are ‘Delhi- Building the Modern’ at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Delhi, 2017; ‘Sunil Janah Vintage Photographs’at the NGMA, Mumbai, October 2015; ’Delhi Modern: The Architectural Photographs of Madan Mahatta’at Photo Ink, Delhi, in 2012; ‘Heat –Moving Pictures Visions, Phantasms and Nightmares’at Bose Pacia, New York, in 2003; and ‘Sunil Janah Photographs, A Retrospective’at Gallery 678, New York, in 1998.

Ram Rahman has been lecturing on aspects of contemporary Indian photography and architecture in the last few years at The BhauDaji Lad Museum, Mumbai; Jnanapravah, Mumbai; MoMA, New York; The Pompidou Centre, Paris and Tate Modern, London. He has given major lectures on Sunil Janah, Raghubir Singh, and the modern architecture of New Delhi. Rahman is one of the founding members of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) in New Delhi, a leading organization in the resistance to communal and sectarian forces in India through its public cultural action. He was the co-curator of the Sahmat retrospective exhibition which opened at the Smart Museum, the University of Chicago in February 2013, and traveled across the US and Canada. The artist lives and works in New Delhi. Working in both color and black-and-white, Rahman is known for his street photographs of India and his environmental portraits of artists and intellectuals. His photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Pompidou Centre, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum, New York; The Devi Art Foundation, Delhi, and private collections.

Ram’s works are a metamorphosis of culture, politics, sociology, history, and his own life, expressed in a rather satirical and theatrical style. He interestingly blends the elite with the everyday. In his works, different worlds merge and become one continuum of sociological signifiers.

Published on January 8, 2021
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