Two More Weeks: Chennai Biennale

With the theme ‘Fauna of Mirrors’, the second edition of the Chennai Photo Beinnale is almost coming to an end now.

Fauna of mirrors is an ancient Chinese myth that speaks of another world that exists behind the mirror,” says renowned sculptor and photo performance artist, Pushpamala N. As Artistic Director of the second edition of Chennai Photo Biennale. “I am looking at photography as a kind of mirror portal which creates this alternate world, much like a nether world that exists alongside us, full of images which exist like specters,” she adds.

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Pushpamala’s curation of the works was based on the biennale’s theme is based on an ancient Chinese fable about mirror people, a species distinct from human beings. The story goes that the mirror people lived on the other side of mirrors. They were friendly with humans until an emperor enslaved them and tried to control their behaviour. The mirror people mutinied and have since been sworn enemies of the human race.

Various themes have been covered by each of the 50 artists. The photo series called Horror in Pink by Thai photographer Manit Sriwanichpoom was a social commentary on the trend of consumerism that has overtaken the Thai society. Similarly, The First Witness is a gripping photo story about the spouses and other close family members of victims of farmers suicide from Telangana and surrounding areas.

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There are workshops and other interactive sessions to be attended as well. The 2019 Biennale is more significant as the team has started teaching school children photography using mobile phones. Since November 2018, the team has taught over 265 students from across private and government schools to shoot pictures on iPhones.

For those who still have’t visited the Biennale, this should help in clearing out some of the confusion.


Compiled by Samantha Shaji.