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The Third Eye

Here's a short piece on the exhibition "Vision Unseen", curated by Rakesh Nagar, that was on display in the quadrangle of the India International Centre from September 20-29, 2013.

“Inspiring” is the first word that comes to mind upon viewing this exhibit of photographs by three visually impaired photographers: Evgen Bavčar (France), Flo Fox (USA) and Kuniaki Ito (Japan). Though with differing circumstances and approaches, their work is a testament to their passion for their art in the face of adversity, and perhaps deserved a larger indoor gallery space.

Evgen Bavčar’s photographs play with perceptions of light and darkness, and have an almost surreal quality. Other senses – hearing, touch – are represented through an accordion, music in braille, and the repeated motif of hands, on which he relies to measure distances while creating a photograph.

Flo Fox’s largely monochromatic images of scenes from the streets of New York are full of life. She often photographs reflections because they “distort reality”, transforming it into “dreamy renditions”.

Following an accident that robbed him of his vision, Kuniaki Ito embarked on a world tour with his wife, who assists him by describing the scenes he can hear. The vibrancy and colour of these vignettes from diverse places depict, in his own words, “peace and family”.

In an age where cameras have become easier to use in many ways, the focus has shifted to the composition and content of the photograph, for which “sight” would seem necessary. Curated by Rakesh Nagar, this exhibition of “non-retinal photography”, however, demonstrates the difference between “sight” and “vision”. The realities, complexities and possibilities of human life find expression in the artists’ need to create, and to share the images in their mind – Bavčar refers to his mind as a “gallery” – with the rest of the world.