Cara is working with the Museum of Art & Photography in India and Microsoft AI for Cultural Heritage as the consulting project lead for the Museum’s side, on an upcoming project to promote cross cultural dialogues regarding the history of South Asian textiles and their global influence. This initiative will allow academics and the general public to connect various textile collections spread across different global institutions, using Microsoft’s AI tools such as Custom Vision and other Azure Cognitive Services. Our work includes managing the digitisation and cataloguing of over 2,000 unique textiles, collaborating with scholars and museum staff to write specialist content for ‘curated journeys’ across the platform, and developing content partnerships with other museums and collections around the world.
In May 2020 the National Gallery Singapore opened the exhibition, Something New Must Turn Up: Six Singaporean Artists After 1965—a major initiative consisting of multiple solo presentations that explore the diverse artistic practices of six post-independence Singaporean artists: Chng Seok Tin, Goh Beng Kwan, Jaafar Latiff, Lin Hsin Hsin, Mohammad Din Mohammad and Eng Tow. Cara’s Director worked in an editorial capacity alongside the Gallery’s publications team, collaborating closely with the designers and curators to develop the print and digital catalogues for the artist’s Goh Beng Kwan and Lin Hsin Hsin. This included copyediting the curatorial essays and interviews, as well as managing transcriptions, and working with the overall project editor and book designers.
As Australia’s leading public art gallery devoted to the collection and exhibition of photography, the MGA engages local, national and international audiences in arts and cultural experiences. Working on a project with the Museum of Art & Photography in Bengaluru, (and loaning work from their collection), Cara’s director is curating the first major retrospective of photography from India in Australia. The exhibition explores the history of Indian photography from its roots in the colonial era, to how this history informs and encourages contemporary artists in the country to critique and challenge this early history today.
The MAP Academy is a pioneering initiative from the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) to transform the approach to teaching Art History in India. The project was founded by Cara’s Director and we continue to be involved in various capacities, guiding it forward towards its public launch in April 2022. Our work includes strategy and project management for researching and writing a comprehensive curriculum for the arts, working closely with the Project Lead (courses), Pooja Savansukha. It also includes building an online encyclopedia for Indian art (the first of its kind), where we work closely with the Lead Editor, Varun Nayar and Managing Editor, Shrey Maurya. This includes developing interactive timelines, bibliographies, glossaries and resource databases for students, educators and scholars, managing a team of over 20 Research Associates, editors and scholars.
Cara’s Director worked in a curatorial capacity for the Museum of Art & Photography and the Bahrain National Museum to deliver the exhibition, Visions of India. Bahrain has a large Indian diasporic community with nearly half a million Indian expatriates living in the country and the goal for this project was to drive engagement between this community and the National Museum. This was achieved through combining the work of international contemporary artists with 20th century work by Indian photographers, creating a relatable dialogue between the old and the new. Visitor numbers to the museum from Indian communities grew dramatically, and we also helped forge dialogues between arts professionals in the Persian Gulf and South Asia.
Cara’s director was the principle consultant for the gift-acquisition of this seminal archive of mid-century studio portraiture, numbering over 10,000 original negatives, on behalf of the Art & Photography Foundation, and Cara now continues to work closely with the archive. Work for the archive included the high level capture of the negatives, the conservation strategy, as well as developing an in-depth research and curatorial project with the Foundation, such as the design and delivery of a major online exhibition and the commissioning of new scholarship on the archive. Working closely with the production house Faraway Originals and the film director, Naveed Mulki, we also helped produce the short film, Suresh Punjabi: Studio Suhag.
Since 2017, Cara’s Director has worked closely with the archive of one of India’s most important modern artists, Jyoti Bhatt, and since 2019 Cara continues to work in a consultancy capacity for this archive for the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP). Our work with the archive has included the management of its digitisation, cataloguing and preservation strategy, concerning over 60,000 negatives and 2,000 prints. We also curated the first major retrospective of the artist's photographic work, as well as researched, edited and wrote the exhibition catalogue, for whom we collaborated with the award-winning design firm, TSK Design, on a print publication, Time, & Time Again, published by the museum. As an ongoing project, we continue to develop digital public engagement strategies with the archive.
The Encyclopedia of Indian Art is a project of the Art & Photography Foundation in India to build a comprehensive resource of over 5,000 unique articles and glossary terms which cover over 10,000 years of Indian art history—all publicly available and accessible online. As the lead consultants for the project, our role includes research management, content development and building strategic academic and institutional partnerships. We also head recruitment and continue to manage the research team of over 20 Editors and Research Associates, and establish the various vetting committees involved. Our in-house design studio is also managing the branding, UX/UI design and web development.
MAP is part of a new generation of museums and cultural organisations in South Asia who are rethinking museum strategies with a community-first approach. Cara’s director was part of the founding team for the Museum, and maintains close ties with the organisation, who are now a key client. Having one of the country's most important and diverse art collections in its care, and with a mission to make art more accessible and inclusive, we work as consultants for the museum to help ideate and deliver new initiatives, from online education to curatorial projects—all of which strive to make museums more accessible, sustainable, and equitable in line with MAP’s mission.
Jangarh Singh Shyam was an Indian artist from the Pardhan Gond community, whose meteoric rise in the contemporary art world ended in the tragic fate of him taking his own life, at the age of 21 in Japan. In 2019, one of India’s most respected art historians, Dr Jyotindra Jain, wrote a groundbreaking treatise on his work, Jangarh Singh Shyam: The Conjuror’s Archive, which coincided with the first major retrospective of his work at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in Delhi (with artworks loaned from the MAP collection). Cara’s director worked closely with the museum, Dr Jain and the creative agency TSK Design (who designed the book), in a project-management capacity to help realise the exhibition and the catalogue, working on artwork digitisation, marketing, publishing contracts and distribution, and as the POC between the author and the designers.
Every summer since 1970, the Rencontres d’Arles has been a major influence in disseminating the best of world photography and playing the role of a springboard for photographic and contemporary creative talents. In 2015, the festival was brought to the Chinese city of Xiamen. Under the invitation of the Rencontres d’Arles and the Doors Agency in Shanghai, Cara’s director curated an exhibition on the history of photography in India, Returning the Gaze: From the Colonial to the Contemporary, as part of a wider cross-cultural initiative to promote cultural diplomacy across India and China. The exhibition included works on loan from the MAP collection, by artists Indu Antony, Anoli Perera, Gauri Gill, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Michael Bühler-Rose, Pushpamala N. & Clare Arni.
We conceptualised and project-managed the seminal book Photography In India: A Visual History from the 1850s to the Present, co-authored by Cara’s Founder, Nathaniel Gaskell and the Indian scholar, Dr. Diva Gujral. We also oversaw the creative direction for the design of the book, collaborating with SMITH Studio in London. Spread over 400 pages and 10 chapters, the project was the first survey of the rich and extensive history of photography from India. Organised chronologically, it covers over 150 years of photographs, divided into ten chapters. An in-depth introduction and ten short essays contextualise the photographs in light of India's journey from colonial territory, to independent nation state.
Georges Rousse is a French contemporary artist known for large-scale photographs depicting painted alterations within architectural settings. When photographed, these complex interventions appear as perspectival, optical illusions or digital effects rather than installations within the scene itself. Working together with Georges Rousse and the curator, Amit Jain, on a special project commissioned by the Museum of Art & Photography for a collateral project of the 4th Kochi Muziris Biennale, Cara’s director helped project manage the production of three large scale artworks at an 18th century Dutch Warehouse in the South Indian city of Fort Kochi.
William Dalrymple is one of the foremost writers and historians of India and the Middle East. His books include From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East; Nine Lives: in Search of the Sacred in Modern India; The Last Mughal; White Mughals; and Return of a King: The Battle of Afghanistan. In addition to his writing, Dalrymple is also a talented photographer, and we worked with him on a project with the Tasveer Gallery and the book designer, Moksha Carambiah, to edit and produce the publication of his photographs, The Historian’s Eye, for HarperCollins.
Working with the Tasveer Gallery, Cara’s director provided the content-development, project-management, exhibition and book design for the travelling exhibition, A Journey Through Asia, by one of the world’s most respected landscape photographers, Michael Kenna. The project took audiences across the landscapes of India, Thailand, Vietnam, China, South Korea, and Japan. Describing the places he photographs as old friends, from the Huangshan Mountains in China to the backwaters of Kerala, Kenna’s photographs are infused with quietness and offer a place of contemplation. The ethos for the design and delivery of this project was to provide a visual language and tone which was quiet, respectful and clean, to allow the subtleties of the work to breathe in the often crowded cities in which the exhibitions took place.
With the education landscape evolving rapidly, TCS iON IntelliGem is a first of a kind, meta-academic platform created to help schools and students across India stay relevant and be prepared for the challenges of tomorrow, and is an initiative of Tata Consultancy Services. As part of its ongoing engagement with the MAP Academy, we work in a consultancy capacity with MAP and TCS iON to develop educational material in the arts aimed at school children across India. In particular, we have been developing content and competencies in Visual Literacy, with a reach of over 300,000 students. The partnership is part of a wider initiative by Cara to improve and promote the teaching of both visual literacy and art history in South Asia.
Norman Parkinson (1913-1990) was one of the Twentieth Century’s most celebrated fashion photographers. He pioneered epic storytelling in his images, taking portrait and fashion photography beyond the stiff formality of his predecessors and injecting an easy and casual elegance into the art. His photographs created the age of the supermodel and made him the photographer of choice for celebrities, artists, Presidents and Prime Ministers. In 1956, Parkinson travelled to India for British Vogue, and in doing so produced an exceptional body of work that has earned its place securely in this history of fashion photography. Working with Elizabeth Smith, the Norman Parkinson Archive in London and the Tasveer Gallery in India, Cara’s director co-curated the travelling exhibition Pink is the Navy Blue of India, and publication of the same name.
In the years between 1930 and 1980, some of the best-known photographers from around the world came to London to make work about the city and its communities. Bringing together a rare collection of classic twentieth-century photographs, Another London highlighted the vibrancy of the city as a dynamic metropolis, richly diverse and full of contrast. As part of this landmark exhibition, Cara’s director (whilst working with Eric Franck Fine Art in London) worked on researching and cataloguing the collection of 1,400 photographs, which was being donated to the Tate by the celebrated art collectors, Eric and Louise Franck. Including iconic works by photographers such as Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, this remains one of Tate’s key holdings of photographs of the capital to date.
Working for and supported by the Japan Foundation, New Delhi, and Tasveer Arts, we produced a survey exhibition and print publication aimed towards celebrating and contextualising the work of six Japanese photographers at the cutting edge of the medium today. Taking the Japanese word for light—Hikari—as its starting point, the project was an exploration of how this is interpreted and used as an artistic tool by different cultures, and in doing so, asked broader questions about universalism and cultural identity in the arts. Our work included the conceptualisation of the exhibition and the project management, working closely with the co-curator Shio Kito, as well as various partner institutions and galleries.
Tasveer arts was a pioneering photography gallery in India with centres across six cities, established in 2006 by Abhishek Poddar, Naveen Kishore and Shalini Gupta. The gallery worked with an international stable of photographers and estates to promote the art of photography in South Asia. Cara’s founder was a partner and former director of the gallery, and oversaw multiple curatorial and creative projects (often collaborating with the designer Moksha Carambiah), to develop their brand identity, exhibitions and publications design. Work with the gallery also included the development of strategic partnerships, including with Magnum Photos, as well as with luxury brands (notably the gallery’s long-standing sponsorship from the Swiss watchmaker, Vacheron Constantin).