Sheba Chhachhi – ‘Alter the Balance of Power’ | Artist Interview | TateShots

My name is Sheba, Sheba Chhachhi I’m an artist, writer, thinker and an activist I live and work in Delhi which is a complex, chaotic and very vital place to live Today my practice actually is not medium
specific but engages with particular social and public issues, primarily
feminism and ecology It’s a desire to offer an alternative imaginary I started, unusually, in the darkroom I found the whole process absolutely
magical From there on, I started
photographing with a borrowed camera because I didn’t have the
money to have my own camera and my very first images
were of a woman who lived in a kind of back veranda of a temple that I used
to pass every day on the way to Design School In a way it was a precursor to my
practice which is not at all a kind of parachuting into a situation making
images and leaving In the early years of the women’s movement, I got very
passionately involved and was photographing, recording, as well as
campaigning and literally shouting slogans one moment and pointing the
camera the next They were not so many women
photographers at the time ‘Seven Lives in a Dream’, the making of
the stage portraits is a significant moment I was profoundly moved by what I
saw by the women I met The stage photo gave me an opportunity to alter the balance of power somewhat I worked with seven women asking each one of them to
develop with me an image that she felt would tell her story. She would select a place a posture, a gaz,e props, objects so we
created a kind of missile send I see it as that movement; a point of critical
transaction in my practice from the documentary to the creation of art So my first movement towards that was to take photographs off the walls I printed transparent images which were layered across the space I also combined it with other material,
with historical images, with sculptural elements etc. Working with installation is something
that asks you to be extremely rigorous with yourself It’s a very flexible, very elastic form What I seek to do is create a kind of embodied viewing where
the sensorium of the participant or the viewer participant is engaged, is
involved in what is happening We are in a kind of period where we are inundated with images, with sounds And I do believe that the kind of crisis we’re facing, and
we are in deep crisis environmentally and, I think, socially. It’s a time
of great violence, violence between people, violence between humans and nature One thing that makes me feel that it’s
worth continuing to ‘speak’, in the sense of making work, is to offer constantly
the possibility of other ways of seeing These are often drawn from history, they
are older epistemologies, older knowledge systems The work really is about opening
up a conversation and trying to invite people to think about things you

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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