The gallery is pleased to present "Mr Malhotra's Party", a series of photographic portraits by Sunil Gupta that address contemporary issues of gender and sexuality in Delhi, India.
Gupta's (b. New Delhi, India, 1953) photographs, known for being political yet intimate, have chronicled the experiences of Delhi's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community since the 1980s. Gupta's series entitled "Exiles" presented constructed documentary images of gay men in architectural spaces in Delhi. The faces of these men were shielded or cropped in order to conceal the individual's identity. Gupta explains, "At a very basic level, gay men in India do not have an image. Literally," He believes that "photography has a big role to play in providing us with an image of ourselves. And as a maker of photographs I see it as my role to make pictures that people can relate to."
Now, almost thirty years later, people are meeting less in parks and secluded areas and more on the internet, and in "private" parties. Gay nights at local clubs in Delhi are always sign-posted as private parties in a fictitious person's name to get around Section 377, a British colonial law, which criminalizes homosexuality in India. In "Mr Malhotra's Party", Gupta visualizes this latest queer space with a series of portraits of 'real' people who identify their sexuality as 'queer' in some way. These individuals confront the camera as they are now willing to identify themselves. They are situated in Delhi's crowded urban landscape, where people live and work. They are part of the vernacular, the everyday, and proudly embrace their queer identity.
Gutpa was born in New Delhi, India, and moved to Montreal with his family in the late 1960s, where his interest in photography began to develop. In the late 1970s, he lived in New York, where he studied photography at the New School for Social Research under Lisette Model. Gutpa then moved to London, England, to continue his studies at the Royal College of Art. He now works as a photographer, writer and curator out of London and Delhi. Gupta works to promote a greater understanding of questions regarding representation, sexuality, access and cultural differences.
Gupta has published numerous monographs, including Wish You Were Here (Yoda Press, 2008) and Pictures from Here (Chris Boot Ltd., 2003). His photographs can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa; Fine Arts Museum, Houston; Arts Council of Great Britain; National Media Museum, Bradford, UK; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; amongst many others.