Politics and Cinema are inter-connected in Tamil civil society. Cinema’s ability to upset pre-existing cultural boundaries and to reallocate previously ghettoized cultural practices followed from the unprecedented ways in which it brought together the elites and the masses. The Tamil elite privileged realism as the governing principle of good cinema, but for the masses, it promised a dream that their heroes will one day take them to. The actors and actresses, who became mainstream rulers of the State made sure that everyone’s needs are met. Abul Kalam Azad has shot over 200 photographs of South Indian cinema poster details and its placement, between 2010 - 2016.
Cinema Paradiso, 2013
Abul Kalam Azad is a visual artist based in India. Abul’s photographic works are predominantly autobiographical, and they explore the areas of politics, culture, micro-history, gender, and eroticism.
His works attempt a re-reading of contemporary Indian history – the history in which ordinary people are absent and are mainly represented through beautiful images and icons.
During the early 90s, for a brief period, he worked as a photojournalist with leading National/International agencies including the Press Trust of India. Mid-90s, he renounced his journalism career to become an independent artist.
Besides, Azad’s maverick and pioneer experimental hybrid art that blends different styles and techniques pushes the boundaries of contemporary Indian photographic art practice.
His current projects focus on a search inside South Indian maritime history and connected cultures, inspired by ancient literature, folklore, and rituals. His works have been exhibited in prestigious museums/galleries in India and abroad since the mid-90s. He is the recipient of various awards that includes Charles Wallace Award, French Government Scholarship award, Govt. of India’s Senior Art Fellowship, and India Foundation for the Arts Grant.
Abul Kalam Azad is the founder of Ekalokam Trust for Photography, a non-profit foundation committed to creating, protecting and sharing contemporary photography and other allied art forms. He also extends his services as Editor-in-Chief of Photo Mail, an online photo-art magazine.