The National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi in collaboration with the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts presents “Homai Vyarawalla: A Retrospective’ - an illustrated journey of the India’s first woman press photographer, Homai Vyarawalla. The exhibition starts from August 27 to October 31, 2010, at National Gallery of Modern Art, Jaipur House, New Delhi.
This exhibition has been curated by Vyarawalla’s biographer, Sabeena Gadihoke who is Associate Professor at the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia Millia Islamia. It will showcase approximately 150-200 images including original silver gelatine prints, many printed by the photographer herself. On display would be her old cameras, photographic equipment and other memorabilia. An eye witness to almost an entire century, and recently honored by the nation with the ‘life-time achievement award’, Homai Vyarawalla, now ninety-seven years old, was born in the year 1913 to a middle-class Parsi family of Navsari, Gujarat.
She grew up in Bombay where she was the only girl in her class to complete her matriculation examination. Later she moved to Delhi in the year 1947, after learning photography from her partner Maneckshaw. Her photography career started with the last days of British Empire and of the new born nation. Some of the key events Homai photographed were the first flag hoisting ceremony at Red Fort on August 16th 1947, the departure of Lord Mountbatten from India and the funerals of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Lal Bahadur Shastri.
The exhibition acknowledges Homai Vyarawalla’s role as a pioneer among women and her contribution to early photojournalism in India. The great value of her work lies in photographs that archive the nation in its infancy documenting both the euphoria of independence as well as disappointment with its undelivered promises. Her images with their strong composition and rich tones are a testimony to her skills as a master photographer.