Nirvair Singh Rai is not just a photographer from Mumbai but a photographer of Mumbai who captures the soul of the city through his lens. Every artist interprets the respective spaces they inhabit differently and then expresses it through their artistic language. Nirvair’s thought-provoking and striking imageries of the City of Dreams give us a window into how the photographer interprets the essence of the city he resides in.
Upon his arrival in 2016, Rai felt an immediate connection to the city, inspiring him to embark on journeys through its streets from time to time to discover the myriad realms where people find solace amidst the hum-drum of urban life. Frame by frame, he shapes the Mumbai of his heart, capturing the quintessence of dreams, devotion, duress, and distress in its varied spaces.
Rai's fascination with how people navigate adversity with fortitude is evident in his portrayal of places like Bandstand and Marine Drive, where the unity of Mumbai shines through, ever ready to embrace and assimilate. His keen eye also captures the unintended role of tetrapods, originally designed to protect the shoreline but now serving as sanctuaries for lovers, shielding them from an invasive world.
The magnitude of urbanity often overshadows nature in Mumbai. In his portrayal of nature that exists on the fringes of the sprawling Urbania, Rai sheds light on the tenacity of life and its will to exist despite the challenges. However, beneath his infectious enthusiasm, there is a deep-seated worry as he observes the city's relentless expansion, infiltrating the ocean with euphemistically labeled reclamation posters. Rai questions the extent of this advancement, pondering how far people must go to reclaim their own little oceans as human progress in the name of "development" threatens to drown out so many naturally beautiful things.
Rai's approach to space is truly remarkable, shaped by his upbringing in Punjab, where the natural landscape commands attention. This defining trait subtly permeates his intimate portrayal of the city, where his portraits seamlessly merge with the broader landscape. Through his lens, Rai strives to carve out space for his subjects, granting them the liberty and respect to thrive within the dynamic tapestry of Mumbai.
Now, you can soak in Nirvair’s expression of Mumbai at an upcoming Method exhibition titled Reclaiming Spaces. A renowned institution of art in the city, Method believes in an introspective and “extrospective” approach to art and the world in which it presently exists. Method boasts three physical spaces in Mumbai. Method Kala Ghoda serves as a premier platform for fine art and installations. Meanwhile, Method Bandra is dedicated to new media, photography, and the exploration of human connectivity. Lastly, Method Juhu stands as a community-driven space that fosters collaboration and creativity.
Date - 11th January to 11th February 2024
Venue - Method, Juhu
Time - 10:30 am to 7pm (Everyday)
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