Jason Tilley- People of India exhibition

This is a review about Jason Tilleys work ‘People of India’, which is an exhibition of three different bodies of work. One of the works is from a book ‘The People of India’ which inspired Jason to take images and portraits of the people that live there. The other part of the exhibition is of Jason’s granddads photographs from when the power was handed to India from Britain and them becoming in a free country. These images were in photo albums so they just seemed like normal family photos. This also inspired Jason to go over to India for 8 years and take images which is the third part of the exhibition.

Having photo albums made us able to understand Tilly’s heritage more, it bought the exhibition more to life. The people of India book gave an emotional connection to Jason Tilley’s exhibition. It allowed us to compare characteristics of how India used to be compared to now. Tilley included a talk at the start of the exhibition which also made it more personal, he talked about Marguareite Mumford who he said was his grandfathers love during the war. He also explained how he tracked her down and invited her sister to the exhibition, which again made it more personal. Especially after we see how she reacts when asked about her sister, which she seemed very emotional which shows how the work has affected others.

To improve the exhibition it could have been more structured, we were allowed to freely walk round not given any starting point. Having an order could allow us to understand the narrative more. I would have liked Tilley to have gone into more detail about the imagery. When reading the text next the image it tend to leave me wanting more information. However this is just a snapshot and quick explanation of the image and how he met them or why he made the image, so this may be all that is needed.

There may be some sort of debate over ethics within his work. People may question whether or not it is fair for him to take pictures of these people, who obviously aren’t very well off like Jason is, and for him to make money of it. These people have contributed to Jason’s work becoming so popular and without them, he wouldn’t have as much work to show. Therefore, some may argue that it is only fair for Tilley to give something back to these people if he does make money from the exhibition and the prints. However, others may argue that since he plans to take the exhibition to India, this may be his way of giving something back.

Is it art just because it is in a gallery? Would these images work just as well in a magazine? My personal opinion is that these images are documenting a style of living and shows the changes through generations, from his grandfathers photographs documenting the change from Britain ruling and Tilley’s images also documenting the change but years. Putting them in an exhibition changes the way we see the images. It makes them appear more structured and artistic however if we was to see this image on a newspaper it may have a more striking impact on the audience.

The exhibition definitely appears to be one to visit. It allows its audience an insight into the culture of India. This exhibition is in honour of Tilley’s grandfather ‘so many people should have seen my work that haven’t’ Due to many loss’s in Tilley’s family they didn’t all get to see it. I would recommend this exhibition to everyone. It appears to have an open audience. It’s enjoyable and knowledgeable for a diverse range of people.

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