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2024.07.12 – 2024.08.11 

Opening and Curators Tour: Friday, 12th July 2024, 19:00-21:00 

Photobook Club Session #33: Saturday, 20th July 2024, 19:00-21:30 

Online Panel Discussion: Sunday, 28th July 2024, 20:00-21:30 

Curator: Michelle Chan

Curatorial Advisor: Anshika Varma

Venue: Lumenvisum | L2-02, JCCAC, 30 Pak Tin Street, Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon  

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11:00-13:00, 14:00-18:00, Closed on Mondays (except Public Holiday) 

Opening Reception:

Photobook Club Session:

Online Panel Discussion:

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A photobook is an object assembled from connecting pages of photographs with a designed narrative that allows readers to experience its artistic content, design layout, and material form. It is essentially an exhibition in bounded paper form. 

In similar ways, I am drawn to connecting people and enabling conversations about contemporary photography issues through photobooks. Since 2017, I have admired the sensitive photographic book-making processes in South Asia. These include, but are not limited to Offset Projects from India for their collaborative book-making, and Nepal Picture Library for their dedication to archiving cultural history, and Tasveer’s pioneering efforts in Pakistan. These communities have conversations on photography’s evolution, therefore exploring identity formation through familial bonds and satirical commentary questioning patriarchy and religious taboos.

This exhibition draws together these three South Asian initiatives by inviting them to bring photographic works from their respective communities. Connecting Pages then becomes the ‘living book object’ to open a dialogue with the Hong Kong audience. Offset Projects Anshika Varma was also invited to co-curate this exhibition. Her work as a photographer and publisher, along with Offset’s engagement with South Asian diasporic voices, has allowed the exhibition to expand. Connecting Pages now proudly brings in independent artists and publishers working with photography from the South Asian region. This celebration of regional artistic voices led to their inclusion in the library collection of Phoboko (a Hong Kong based initiative for bringing people together through photobooks), therefore broadening the exposure of their work to Hong Kong’s photobook culture.

Photobook Intimacies: Drawing relationships through bookmaking practices

To thread together a book is an act of assimilation — multiple voices, experiences and years of contemplation and practice are bound in a form that seeks to create a world of its own. For many building these worlds through books in South Asia, experimentation coexists with a deep urge to connect, with each other and with the form, not only as an artistic practice but one of intentionality, held together through shifting methodologies and new voices within photography. 

The titles presented by each of the initiatives are witness to books that question history making, refute social rigidities and assert cross-border solidarities through collaborations and friendships that redefine the boundaries within South Asia. The artists working within these ideas are keen to find intersections of photography with scientific theory, philosophy and its effect on the growth of a regional visual language. For many, the book is a site of performance, pages that offer a stage to challenge societal and gender norms, give artists room to find acts of affirmations in the process of making their books.

These friendships also exist between Offset Projects, and Tasveer, friendships morphing between roles as distributors, curators and co-publishers with a deep knowledge that in coming together, we create new worlds to share these voices.

Moulding the book to locate the experience of world-building is central to the deep and intimate relationships that appear on these walls and shelves. It is in the resonance of these encounters that the book finds its belonging.

Curator: Michelle Chan Wan Chee

Curatorial Advisor: Anshika Varma

Curator Bio

Michelle Chan Wan Chee 陳韻芝

Michelle Chan is a relational artist who works primarily in photography. She uses the camera and manipulated images to generate connections and conversations with people. Her works often touch upon the notion of home, sense of belonging, human connections and bonding, and familial relationships. More specifically, they reflect the inherited familial beliefs that inform our daily gestures and rituals, and explore the Chinese beliefs that have become recurrent over centuries. She is the founder of Phoboko, a platform that brings people together through photobooks and the topics they contain. As a community, Phoboko interrogates photography as a medium, promoting the vision of local Hong Kong artists while in dialogue with other photographers in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Anshika Varma

Anshika Varma works with photography and printed matter to build relationships between contemporary visual language and its expanded life. As an artist with an interest in personal, collective and mythical histories, her work often looks at the emotional connection between an individual and their environment. Creating within the fluid identities of a curator, educator and publisher, the book becomes an important medium for her to align with interests in the democratic dissemination of artistic expression and to break notions of exclusivity in access and ownership of art. She is the founder of Offset Projects, an initiative working extensively on creating modes of access and creation within the photographic language with a focus on voices from South Asia and the Global South.