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Paths of Light and Shadow

Bonn University Museum: Photographs and Animated Images from Pakistan

Starting on 12 July 2014, the Bonn University Museum will be showing video works and photographs by the Pakistani artist Suriyya Choudhary entitled “Wege von Licht und Schatten – Paths of Light and Shadow”. Sacred shrines in East Pakistan are depicted in photographs and animated images. The artist currently lives in Bonn and will be joined at the exhibition opening on 11 July at 5.00 p.m. 

In the exhibition - entitled "Paths of Light and Shadow”, the Pakistani artist Suriyya Choudhary explores her country’s colonial past. She contrasts the photographic motifs of the British colonial era with a distinct, indigenous perspective. The exhibition is a part of the artist’s PhD project. She is also Assistant Professor for Visual Arts at her home university and the project for the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History of Bonn University is a part of her professional development.

The exhibition includes a video installation and a number of colour and black and white photographs by the artist. Among her themes are also the works of British photographers like W.H. Baker, who developed their own brand of visual aesthetics defined by the colonial era. In Suriyya Choudhary’s view, this perspective pays insufficient attention to the cultural and spiritual meaning inherent in mausoleums and mosques, for example. The photographs reflect the perspective of colonial rulers. The three-part video composition by the artist, by contrast, was created with the participation and cooperation of the local population, whose voice and visual presence is given due regard. 

The curators:
The idea for the exhibition took shape thanks in no small part to the efforts and contribution made by the art historians Julia Fritz and Regina Höfer. Julia Fritz, Research Associate in the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History at Bonn University, is currently working on subjects such as contemporary Islamic art and a cluster of themes associated with the architecture of mosques in Germany and the Netherlands.  Regina Höfer, also a Research Associate in the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History at Bonn University, is working on historic photography in South Asia and on the history of Indian art collections in the 19th century.

The artist:
Suriyya Choudhary is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Fine Arts of the Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan and is doing her PhD at Reading University in the UK. In 2013 she was a visiting researcher at the Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies of the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History of Bonn University.

Lecture on the exhibition:
For her lecture “Kolonialfotografie als visuelles Reisetagebuch: Die Weltreise von Franz Ferdinand von Österreich-Este” on 17 July at 5.30 p.m. in the University Museum of Bonn University, Regina Höfer M.A. focuses on Franz Ferdinand of Austria’s visit to India during his world tour in 1892/93. The lecture makes use of letters, diaries and photographs which are seen not only as travel documentation but also as testimonies to an exotic mode of travelling and at the same time important records of the art of an era.

Opening and duration of the exhibition:

The exhibition “Paths of Light and Shadow“ will be opened on Friday 11 July 2014 at 5.00 p.m.
by Prof. Dr. Julia A. B. Hegewald, Department of Asian and Islamic Art History of Bonn University and Dr. Thomas Becker of the Bonn University Museum. This will be followed by addresses by both the artist herself and the curators.
The exhibition will be shown until Sunday 24 August 2014 at the Bonn University Museum, Regina-Pacis-Weg 1, 53113 Bonn (Tel: 0228-73 5367).

Julia Fritz, Regina Höfer
Research Associates
Department of Asian and Islamic Art History
Bonn University, Adenauerallee 10, 53113 Bonn
Tel: +49 228 73-7212
Fax: +49 228 73-4042
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