For the first time in Singapore, REDSEA Gallery has the great pleasure of presenting a selection of works by renowned contemporary photographer Rohit Chawla. One of the most eminent fashion and commercial photographers of his time, Rohit turned his attention to photographic art and portraiture in a desire to capture the personality and soul behind the images. Featuring works from his most notable series Wanderlust and Out of the Box, these elegantly poised portraits have a strong sense of design and form, with a focus on the subject and their self-expression. “I just want to do simple images with strong graphic sensibilities. I don’t want any distractions of background. I want the people. Doing anything else takes away from the purity of the image. I believe in the minimal,” says Rohit.
In the series entitled Wanderlust, Rohit takes a look at the pastoral nomadic community of the Rabari tribe in India, one that has withstood the onslaught of time yet retained its identity. He pays tribute to the tribal members’ natural flamboyance, their use of traditional textiles, intricate embroidery and motifs, celebrating the relentless spirit and style of this wandering tribe. Working with a Mamiya medium format camera and shooting at all different times of the day, the project took Rohit over six months to complete, shooting the nomadic community members exactly as he came across them in the Indian desert.
Rohit’s work has received great critical and international acclaim, with Wanderlust having been exhibited and sold out in both London and Paris. In addition, he has collaborated with numerous well-known creative and celebrity names, one such collaboration resulting in the series Out of the Box, featuring a selection of notable individuals. All of the subjects in this collection share the same unharnessed approach to life and work, continuously challenging the confines of existing ideas and developing new and original ones. From prominent writer Michael Ondaatje to esteemed architect Frank Gehry, to Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, a selection of 6 portraits from this series will be part of the show.
Completing this exhibition is a haunting image taken for the magazine India Today. Part of a series of projects engaging with the refugee crisis in Syria, controversial Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei worked together with Rohit to recreate the image of drowned infant Alan Kurdi, whose lifeless body was washed up on a beach near the Turkish town of Bodrum in September 2015. Working on the Greek island of Lesbos, a key point of entry for many refugees into the European Union, Ai Wei Wei and Rohit’s striking and iconic image makes a strong political and humanitarian point, highlighting the plight of thousands of people desperately searching for a better future.
ABOUT ROHIT CHAWLA
Recognized as a leading contemporary photographer, Rohit started his career, and spent almost two decades, in advertising at JWT before eventually starting his own design and film production company. His solo exhibitions include Wanderlust, Tribute to Raja Ravi Verma, Klimt-The Sequel, Free da! – The Homage, Fine Art of Food and Wearable Art Collection. Rohit’s works have been exhibited at various venues worldwide and his photographs are part of private collections and museums. The central theme of his work is essentially travel, which he considers the perfect antidote to stress. He spends his time between Delhi and Goa.