Sunil Janah and the development of a modern ocular aesthetic 1943-56

This talk focuses on the remarkable visual archive of documentary photographer Sunil Janah (1918-2012). From young and brash bad boy recruit of the Communist Party of India to business-savvy photographer of Nehruvian technocratic India, we explore a career marked by the holocaust of famine, unlikely international affiliations, profound political disillusionment and romantic tribal escapades. What kind of modern ocular aesthetic did Janah develop over the years? How did he deliver the promise of modernity through the photographic image – a promise seemingly secured in the truth of a socialist self-sufficiency? But also, could it be that the systemic violence of modernity Janah so keenly documented is tied to the developmental vision he strove to craft?

Emilia is the Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University. She received a BA (Hons) in Philosophy and History of Art from University College London (2005) an MA (2007) and PhD from The Courtauld Institute of Art (2013). She was the recipient of the Nehru Trust Award (2008) and the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award scholarship at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2008-12). Emilia acted as consultant for the British Museum acquisition team (2013) and junior cataloguer at the Victoria and Albert Museum, providing detailed descriptions of items stored in the South Asia collection of Modern and Contemporary art (2008-13). She has received publication grants from the John Fell Oxford University Press Research Fund and the Scouloudi Foundation in association with the Institute of Historical Research, London.

Emilia’s writings have been published by Art Journal and Art Bulletin as well as the art press including Frieze, Modern Painters, Burlington Magazine and Caravan.

She currently co-teaches with Prof Malcolm Bull the BFA year 2 course Photography and Globalisation at Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University.

At The Courtauld Institute of Art, Emilia co-teaches with Professor Julian Stallabrass the MA course Documentary Reborn: Photography, Film and Video in Global Contemporary Art.

After the lecture there will be an opportunity for questions, followed by a drinks reception. Copies of the book Art and Emergency: Modernism in twentieth-century India by Dr Emilia Terracciano will be on sale at a special price.

6:00pm, 22 Nov 2017

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London