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Letters To Alice, Bill and Allen

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Nandita Raman, photographer: 

'Letters to Alice, Bill and Allen is an ongoing project consisting of varied media including photographs, video and text, and is primarily based on the journals of Swiss artist, Alice Boner (1889-1981); American poet, Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997); and American photographer William Gedney (1932-1989), written during their stay in Varanasi (Benaras) between 1935 and 1971. 

Aligned to the journeys that the three artists took, this work arises out of my explorations of the cultural atmosphere of Varanasi of the 1960s (wherein their journals overlapped), and an engagement with a largely epistolary form. It extendedly connects with the music of Hindustani classical singer, Rasoolan Bai (1902-1974), and the films of Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), several of which were shot in Varanasi. Hence my focus returns to the space, this ancient city, its architecture, philosophy, intended to create a link to art history through contemporary practice.'

Nandita Raman was born in Varanasi (India) and works with a range of mediums including photography, video, language and sculpture. Her work has been exhibited most notably in Franz Josefs Kai3 (Vienna); Center for Documentary Studies (Duke University) and Columbia University. She has taught in CUNY and ICP (both New York), and is a graduate of the Bard College-International Center of Photography MFA program. She has just won the Photography Grant awarded by the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts.

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