Ambrotype by Imran Kokiloo
An English literature graduate, Anita Khemka (b. 1972) began photographing in 1996. Her oeuvre has largely been defined by social documentary work and has been widely exhibited in India and traveled to Barcelona, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Frankfurt, Paris, Geneva, Stockholm, Helsinki, London, Houston, and Melbourne.
Her work dealing with alternative sexuality was made into a German film, Between the Lines – India’s Third Gender in 2005. Following three hijras (eunuchs), she entered the vibrant yet struggling hijra communities, openly discussing many intimate details of their lives. Her project, Sweet Sixteen (2006), portraits of sixteen-year-olds is included in a book, IMAGINING OURSELVES: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women. The series, Self-Portraits has been included in a group exhibition, Watching Me, Watching India at the Fotografie Forum International, Frankfurt (2006), in the Photoquai Biennale at the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris (2007), The Self and The Other – Portraiture in Contemporary Indian Photography for the Palau de la Virrenina and Artium in Spain, Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 years of photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh at White Chapel, London (2009).
With her work on Kashmir, she has collaborated with Imran Kokiloo, her partner (2016 – ongoing). This is an archive comprising the constructed image, staged photos and personal artifacts belonging to the Kashmiri people affected by the conflict. Here, she experiments with X–rays, large format pinhole, sound; and with photographs from her own family album as well as the found photograph to ensure the community’s self- representation in the narrative, rendering the work more inclusive of local voices. The first part of this work was exhibited at the FotoFest International in Houston, Texas in April 2018.
She headed the photography department at the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication (SACAC) from August 2015 until February 2019 and is currently engaged by The MurthyNAYAK Foundation to work on their website India Photographed which will come live in early 2020. Amongst other things, this has involved researching the works of contemporary Indian photographers and conducting written and video interviews.
Anita Khemka lives in New Delhi and is represented by PHOTOINK.