Mumbai photographer Prarthna Singh’s first solo-book is a walk down the alley called Shaheen Bagh

Who is the ideal protester? We imagine raised fists, mischievous faces, and angry situations. We imagine climbing barriers, braving tear gas. If we use this visual vocabulary, Har Sham Shaheen Bagh (Every evening by Shaheen Bagh) He surprises us. With over 150 images of nonviolent protesters, the photo book gently challenges images of contemporary resistance movements.

Har Sham Shaheen Bagh It is the first solo illustrated book by Mumbai-based photographer Prathna Singh (she had earlier collaborated with the authors of Sar: The Essence of Indian Design in 2016). In December 2019, after it was reported that Delhi Police assaulted IUM students who were defying Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)protest sit-in led Muslim woman started in Shaheen Bagh. Under a tent, with hundreds of women and children on any given day, the peaceful protest continued for 100 days, until the outbreak of the epidemic.

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Singh joined the anti-CAA protest in January 2020, spending most of her time on the ground. Best known for her women-centric novels and her work in photography, she delves into her specialty of creating portraits in an on-site photo studio, cobbled together with everything available in Shaheen Bagh. The result is these portraits of women, either looking directly at the camera or away, but always with a sense of pride. Anonymous sitters indicate stability and calm, confidence in place, purpose and photographer.

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Our collective memory of Shaheen BaghAs is often the case with resistance movements, so are the masses, as seen in prime-time news and press photos. In fact, mass resistance movements have given rise to the most famous images in the documented history of the world. Vulnerability and resilience merge into one defining moment – the people standing up to power and confrontation, whether it’s a man blocking a line of tanks or a girl offering a flower to an armed soldier. Har Sham Shaheen Bagh Huge trades intimacy, asking us to reconsider what we mean by “creative.” He isolates individuals from the sea of ​​faces, as if to say that the strength of the movement lies not in number but in the will of its people.

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Har Sham Shaheen Bagh Take the form of a personal diary or scrapbook. It contains drawings, a painting by artist Sameer Kolavour, whose company Bombay Duck Designs also designed the book, poetry, and a letter from a protester, and is available in Urdu, English and Hindi. Some of the pages are deliberately uneven, indicating the temporary quality of the Shaheen Bagh tent. While the cost of the book makes it unavailable to some socioeconomic groups, Singh shared copies with protesters. A portion of the book sales go to Jeevan Stambh, an NGO that works to rehabilitate victims Demolition of Jahangirpuri Last month.

During the pandemic, Delhi Police disinfected the Shaheen Bagh site, painted his graffiti and dismantled his art installations. In a country bent on erasing and rewriting its history, one might say that a picture book of citizen protest is as good as the act of protest itself.

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