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More than 30 photographs of everyday life in Indian cities captured in the early 20th century by French Orientalist painter and photographer Georges Gaste are on display at an ongoing exhibition in Kolkata..

Born in 1869, the Parisian photographer settled in 1905 in north India, making it the subject of his paintings and photos. His paintings were exhibited at Orientalist salons from 1906 and received rave reviews. The “Georges Gaste in India: 1905-1910” exhibition comprises 34 photographs taken by Gaste during his sojourn in India in the first decade of the 20th century, said a statement from the Alliance Francaise on 20th of March.

In addition, colour reproductions of his paintings and a few of the letters written by the artist are also being showcased. “In addition to the remarkable composition and lighting effects, his work presents an ethnographic interest: due to the proximity between the painter and local populations, these photos narrate the everyday life in Agra, Varanasi (then Benaras), Delhi, and Madurai,” said the statement.

A documentary film on Gaste life will also be screened as homage to the painter. “In the 19th century, while journeys to the East were most often adopted as a way to fuel the fantasies of some Europeans, artists like Gaste refused to cater to this ideology.” “This exhibition is a tribute to a painter who went against tradition and took interest in India instead of North Africa or the Middle East. It is a collection of his works created after having lived in the native environment, moving away from a colonial society in which he didn’t fit in,” the statement said.

Gaste died in Madurai in 1910. The nine-day exhibition that began on 16th of March at the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) will conclude on 24th of March.


Story source: IANS