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Celebrated Indian photographer and installation artist Samar Singh Jodha will present his latest work at the Venice Biennale 2013. Jodha has been working on global issues with his art in Asia, Africa and the Middle East for the past two decades. At the 2012 Olympics he had a 40-foot installation on Bhopal-Union Carbide disaster at the Amnesty International London.
A the core of Jodha’ art projects is an involvement at a community level – which includes capacity building issues such as education, rural forestry programs and the revival of traditional craftsmanship. Jodha’s obsession with the nomadic and tribal communities from China/ Burma and North East India began in 2003 then he undertook a road trip from Kunming in South West China through Burma into the North East borders of India. The route had long been shut down due to political reasons, and Jodha made several unsuccessful attempts to cover the length from China. He finally managed to complete his journey, by approaching it from both ends in 2005.
He began photographing & filming the vanishing Tai Phake tribe of 1500 Buddhists originating from Burma. He set up an education system, helping fund a monastery building project and revive traditional textile looms. On one of these many trips to this region, he stumbled upon the fascinating habitats of the miners in the North Eastern borders of India – sandwiched between Bangladesh, Burma and China. The magnificent metal structures that jutted into the lush and uninhabited landscape, were an unreal testimony to man’s will to survive.
Jodha’s latest body of work is the result of this photo research carried out in the past one decade in the mining communities of North East India. This poetic body of work – printed with archival inks on precious metal plates like Copper, Brass and Mild Steel – contrasts and blends pathos and beauty seamlessly. [ samar singh jodha ]