Gallery Gitanjali Goa will be exhibiting a selection of works from Sebastian Cortes’ Sidhpur series-Time Present Time Past (2014) at Panjim Pousada from 25th Feb – 7th March 2015 as part of Goa Photo 2015 ,the first edition of an annual international photography festival to be held across the city of Panaji .
This selection of works has been culled from an exhibition produced by Tasveer Arts and will travel to the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai to be exhibited there from the 8th - 31st of March,2015.
Sebastian Cortés’ series Sidhpur: Time Present Time Past forms the first in-depth photographic exploration of the Bohra Islamic community in Sidhpur, a little-known small town in Gujarat. Chancing upon Sidhpur while on assignment, Cortés was intrigued by its rich heritage and distinctive vernacular architecture. Building on from the ideas explored in his previous book Pondicherry, this latest exhibition demonstrates Cortés’ continuing interest in documenting and uncovering India’s more enigmatic facets, this time through careful photographic studies of the traditional habitats and domestic spaces of the Dawoodi Bohras, an elusive and veiled Islamic community.
Traditionally a trading community by profession – indeed, the term Bohra derives from the Gujarati term ‘vehru’ or trade – the Bohra’s are a people who constantly invented and reinvented their identity in keeping with migratory patterns. Absorbing and negotiating influences around them, their complex cultural makeup is strikingly reflected in their entirely unique architecture that is an amalgamation of Hindu, Islamic, Persian, European and Colonial styles.
The photographs in this series are saturated with fragments of what was once valued, of past luxuries and prizes, that despite neglect resist decay and refuse to be entirely dismissed. He captures the residual memories, histories and traces of past lives that persist in the facades of buildings, in empty rooms, windows, doors, stairways, and other distinguishing features of Bohra architecture. Through doing this Cortés’ images allude to the past contained within the present.
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
Sebastian Cortés was born in New York and took up photography while at New York University film school where he studied and collaborated with many of the best names in the industry, shooting several short films. In 1985 moved to Milan, Italy and started shooting fashion, travel and lifestyle photography assignments for many international magazines and commercial clients, including, among others: American Express, Condè Nast, Ermenegildo Zegna and Publicis.
From the beginning, Sebastian’s career included a commitment to fine art photography, developing a very personal analysis of the use of the camera as an instrument for recording “ the layering of time and the sense of place”- influenced by the American school: Walker Evans, Stephen Shore, William Eggleston and contemporaries like Robert Polidori and Alec Soth.
In 1996 Cortés produced, “Luoghi Poetici” Poetic Places, intimate, atmospheric portraits of the major Italian poets in their homes, the key to discovering each poet is “the place” in both a literary and metaphorical sense – the space in which the poet recognises himself. The book and the exhibition drew great critical acclaim and travelled to major Italian cities.
In 2004 Cortés moved together with his family to India, where his award winning travel, lifestyle and fine art photography is greatly appreciated. Garnering applause from noted artists, intellectuals and press, Cortés developed several book projects, the most recent Pondicherry, published by Roli Books, further extended his very personal discourse with photography, initiating a productive period of fieldwork within a new cultural context. Cortés lectures at the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication. His images are exhibited and reviewed widely in Europe and in India