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Portfolio: Salma Abedin Prithi

Elegy

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Photograph © Salma Abedin Prithi

 

 

Artist's Statement

Elegy is a combination of texts, found images and tableau photographs remembering recent social violence of Bangladesh. The work developed as protest - a protest of our desensitized memories to violence.

Threats of murder, rape, extra-judicial killing, ethnic tortures, and child abuse are taking place in our society almost every day. These continual violent events are becoming mundane in our daily life, causing ennui when published in newspapers or social media. My work is a testament of those violent moments. Taken in a space slightly before or after the moment, I attempt to show how the body and mind might react to such moments.

The series consists of three parts. First, many of my photos are taken inside the same room, as these real events were connected to a common place and its morphology. Secondly, I try to transform real newspaper photos and texts to an ambiguous poetry on such violence, to protest the mundanity of everyday news. The original texts are edited and aligned like social media's news subtitles, to borrow the mainstream language and convert it to a gonzo report of violence as a culmination of my research. Finally, my studio acts as a parallel reality where two bodies are open to interact. It is an attempt to overcome known gestures and comfort. Ordinary people perform to express the inexpressible and form an unrehearsed affinity.

Social violence in Bangladesh is recently a frequent phenomenon, which is creating fear and anxiety between the ordinary people of society. I stage the moments of violence with an intimate household interior setup to associate our collective memories with these recent events. These photographs are the imaginary enactments of the actual violence to trace the psychological expressions of the victims or relatives during the moment of violence.

The ordinary people have growing anxiety to talk about these crimes and to develop persistence. The viral news is fear mongering without any psychological conduct. Most of my casts are ordinary people who generously participated in the acts in my studio. My core intention is to give voice to the community to talk about social violence and to realize the psychological aspects including collective trauma and persistence.

My work never tries to naturalize the event, but to support the position of the victims by portraying their resilience and mental strength. Elegy tries to focus on the mental image beyond the physical picture. A trained gesture makes a body a social being, but often not in a lucid form. There is a conscious act of intimacy, dependency, ignorance, or enmity, but some acts lose control and expose unrecognizable gestures.

As an artist developing socially engaged photography projects, I try to develop a photographic language on a politically sensitive social narrative to overcome the struggle of censorship and design public engagement programs to create public intelligence and awareness on the most urgent social issues. It is important to create a fearless environment for them to express their concern about social safety and free society against all forms of oppression.

Today there is growing control and pressure through censorship and surveillance, which has kept the people silent and less aware of their social rights. Through my work, I attempt to reassemble politically motivated narratives with subtle and experimental language to avoid censorship and to mobilize social movements against social violence.

The importance of mediating one's own work as an artist has increased today when there is a growing silence on socially important issues due to oppressive measures. Elegy tries to share concerns with the communities and to strategize a collective action in an inclusive and collaborative process. The ordinary people enact the very moment of violence as a psychological depiction of collective trauma and the interactive process helps them to free their bodies from suppressed gestures.

Elegy is an attempt to draw attention to everyday social violence, and to remember the individuality and sovereignty of each victim. It is also an inquiry of our psyche when it grasps a moment of violence.

Date Published

20 November

Category
Portfolios