Culture - NOMINEE: Sharbendu De
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Imagined Homeland (2013-ongoing) is a crossover documentary series on the life of the Tibeto-Burmese Lisu tribe living in the dense forests of Namdapha National Park (NNP) and Tiger Reserve on the remote Indo-Myanmar border of Arunachal Pradesh, India.
The Lisus call the forests ‘home’, self educate their children, heal their sick, build each other’s home and church, and pray together. Without an external economy they mostly barter, living symbiotically with nature as a self-sufficient community. Yet, they’re trapped, and are waiting. I attempt to reflect this dystopia, grace and dignity in the surreal portraits.
How does cohabiting with nature influence us? What lessons does this way of life offer mankind especially in Anthropocene where the world has constructed a society far removed from nature?
In Imagined Homeland, I search for these answers by exploring the relationship between human and nature using intersections between symbolism and mythology. It envisions evoking feelings of the elusive home.
Sharbendu De is a lens-based artist, academic and a writer from India. His work explores intersections between documentary and conceptual approaches. Symbolism, mythology and dream interpretations influence his art practice. De is the 2018 Winner, Feature Shoot Emerging Photographer of the Year, 2019 Finalist, LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards and was shortlisted for Emerging Artist of the Year Scholarship by Lucie Foundation in 2018.
His seven-year-long project Imagined Homeland (IH) received the 2018 Lucie Foundation’s Photo Made Scholarship, an Art Research Grant from the India Foundation for the Arts (2017) and grant from Prince Claus Fund for Culture and ASEF. It was exhibited at OBSCURA (2019), FORMAT (2019), MOPLA (2019), Indian Photography Festival (2018), Tblisi Photo Festival (2018) and Voies Off Awards at Les Recontres d’Arles (2018) amongst others; it was shortlisted for Athens Photo Festival (2019, 2018), Lucie Foundation’s Photo Made Scholarship (2017), and was a Nominee, 'PhotogrVphy Grant (2017). IH will be exhibited at Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa, India (Dec’19).
Between Grief and Nothing (2015-16), his conceptual response to the trauma caused by the Nepal Earthquakes was exhibited in Econtros da Imagem (2016), Photo Kathmandu (2017) and Geothe Institut (New Delhi, 2016; Mumbai, 2017), cited in WITNESS, featured in GUP, LensCulture, Invisible Photographer Asia, PIX Quarterly, Der Greif, Dodho etc. He has exhibited in France, USA, Georgia, Portugal, U.K., Nepal and across India.
De has an MA in Photojournalism from the University of Westminster, London (2010) and presently teaches documentary photography and Visual Arts at AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Sri Aurobindo Centre for Art & Communication, New Delhi.
He has worked in seven natural disasters including the Nepal earthquakes (2015) and the Asian Tsunami (2004-08) as well as documented many environmental stories in India. De grew up in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands but presently lives in New Delhi.
2019 Finalist, LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards
2018 Winner, Feature Shoot Emerging Photographer of the Year
2019 Recipient, Prince Claus & ASEF Fund for Imagined Homeland
2018 Recipient, Photo Made Scholarship, Lucie Foundation, for Imagined Homeland
2018 Shortlisted, Lucie Foundation’s Emerging Artist of the Year Scholarship
2017 Recipient, Arts Research Grant, India Foundation for the Arts, for Imagined Homeland
2019 Shortlisted, Belfast Photo Festival and Athens Photo Festival
2018 Shortlisted, Athens Photo Festival
2018 Imagined Homeland, Selected - Voies Off Awards, Arles, France
2017 Shortlisted, Lucie Foundation ‘Photo Made Scholarship' for Imagined Homeland
2017 Imagined Homeland- Nominee, 'PhotogrVphy Grant's' culture segment