Photographs by Amit Madheshiya

In collaboration with PHOTOINK, GALLERYSKE is pleased to present The Cinema Travellers, an exhibition of colour portraits by Amit Madheshiya. This photographic project began in 2008 and grew into the award winning documentary film by the same name, co-directed with Shirley Abraham. For seven decades now, travelling cinemas have been transporting the magic of movies to audiences across rural India, to the hinterland. Often travelling as a part of religious and entertainment fairs, they bring the big screen magic to millions. However, with advancing technologies and widespread connectivity these touring cinemas have started losing patrons who prefer watching films on DVDs and mobile phones.

This project is homage to a dying tradition of cinema culture, to an era when huge tents were hitched to the back of gigantic trucks and films were screened using hand-cranked projectors for audiences, often as an annual treat. Illuminated by the projected light of the screen, Madheshiya focuses our attention on faces in the audience whose expressions of awe, delight, bewilderment and melancholy make for an unforgettable ensemble of human emotions. Moreover, this collection of portraits is an intimate and unobtrusive observation of the profound impact cinema wields on its audience.

Amit Madheshiya (b.1982) is an award winning, internationally acclaimed photographer and filmmaker based in Mumbai. He graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Literature from Hindu College, New Delhi (2004) and an MA in Mass Communication from AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi (2006). He began working on the Travelling Cinema project in 2008. Photographs from this project won the World Press Photo in 2011, World Photography Award in 2009 and 2011 and Grand Prize at the Humanity Photo Awards in 2009.

In 2011, Madheshiya began working on the film, The Cinema Travellers, co-directed with Shirley Abraham, which premiered as an Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival 2016, to a standing ovation. It won the Special Jury Prize for L’Oeil d’or: Le Prix du documentaire. The film continues to have a prestigious festival run playing at eighty film festivals worldwide. It is the only Indian documentary to have achieved the rare festival trifecta of Cannes, Toronto and New York Film Festival. The film has won thirteen awards, including the recent 64th National Film Award in India.

Amit Madheshiya is a fellow of the Sundance Institute, MacArthur Foundation, Goethe Institut, India Foundation for the Arts, Arts Council England, National Foundation of India and the University of Heidelberg.