Deepak Singh Kathait


125 MCM, New Delhi


The Gujral Foundation was pleased to present PUR[E]SUIT, an exhibition of photoworks
by Deepak Singh Kathait from 23rd – 30th November 2017. In this series of photo works, Deepak Singh Kathait captured the ritual of purification enacted by millions of believers each year on the banks of the river Ganges. Taking a leap beyond prevalent touristic photography, Deepak complicated the gaze of the viewer by removing context and identification markers. In the final artworks, one encountered the multitudinousness of the river bathing site through the process of repetition, creating an alternate manufactured context akin to the one we see in supermarkets and departmental stores.

Acts of purification have manifestations in all forms of life from river rituals, to Catholic confessional booths, to one-click online petitions delivering us from capitalistic guilt. Through his journeys to Rishikesh and the creation of this body of work, the artist challenged the idea of these easily available means of purification. How do these rituals, through which society repeatedly placates conscience, play into systemic cycles of greed and consumerism?

The series of work also reopened questions of purity in art, here in the canon of photography. How does one constitute the purity of the photographic image in the time of advanced technological interventions, and is there a need to do so? With the proliferation of the mobile phone camera, photography becomes a tool for voyeurism, surveillance and citizen reportage. Deepak through this work pointed towards new tools to look at the body, identity and the pure in photographic work.

Deepak Singh Kathait is an artist and poet from the Garhwal Himalayan region of Uttaranchal. He studied Fine Arts at College of Art, New Delhi in 2010 & was the recipient of the the academic excellence award. His fine art based images have gotten honourable mentions at the International Photography Awards (IPA) in 2011 and 2016. In 2014, Deepak received a scholarship in Visual Art for outstanding young persons in the fields of Art & Culture from Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. Deepak has exhibited at India Habitat Centre (2013), Gallery Romain Rolland, Alliance Frances (2011) and Lalit Kala Academy (2010).