Through his photography, Anup Mathew Thomas presents images that are both personal and specific but that also ask broader cultural questions. Drawing on various genres including photojournalism, documentary, and fashion, his work presents a diverse set of approaches to the human subject. In presenting his work as projected images as well as prints, Mathew Thomas also brings a reflexive engagement with the modalities and history of his chosen medium.
In 2005, during the Khoj two-week international artists’ workshop in Mumbai, India, Mathew Thomas developed LightLife – a photo installation on the dance bars of Mumbai. Around the time of the workshop, the Maharashtra government (the state where Mumbai is located) had ordered for a closure of Mumbai’s dance bars, ‘saying they corrupt young men and breed crime and prostitution’. The photographs in LightLife capture the dance bars ‘alive’ with scintillating lights and shimmering colours but devoid of any human presence. As the photographs cross-faded into each other the lights created a hauntingly poetic sense of motion. The work encourages reflection on the politics of moral censure even as it explores unused spaces that lurk within our larger urban experience.
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