Art as Witness

edited by Parthiv Shah & Sana Das

December 2010

8 x 8 inches

228 pages, full colour


Rs 950

Art as Witness is a cluster of barbed writings and biting images from the underbelly of turbulent India and its neighbouring countries. Relying on the sustained work of eminent photographers and artists on rights issues in and around South Asia, and on writings by courageous activists, lawyers, journalists and social scientists, the book focuses on the terror unleashed by armies, states and courts of law, and tells the stories of brave survivors. Here, text and image are strained to their limits to convey the hopes and anguish of prisoners, death-row victims, murder-victim families, families of missing people, populations living under martial law, and displaced communities, in a world where democratic rights and freedoms are shrinking every day.
Based on Amnesty International India’s ‘Art for Activism’ project, this book hopes to strengthen global campaigns for a world without fear and torture, a world without death penalty, or disappearances and custodial violence. It hopes to reach out to a wider and more diverse readership/viewership through its parallel narrative of images as visual testimonies, and spillover references to the popular worlds of cinema, music, slogan and performance.

Parthiv Shah is a renowned photo-artist based in Delhi, India, who has curated national and international exhibitions on art and issues of social concern. His works have been exhibited at leading world galleries including the Durban Art Gallery and Sandton Art Centre, South Africa; Whitechapel Gallery, London, U.K.; Chhobi Mela, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Photo-Expo Asia-2, Bangkok, Thailand, and other places. His seminal photographs of the mill workers of western India have been published in the volume titled Working in the Mill No More. Parthiv Shah is the Founder-Director of the Centre for Media and Alternative Communication
(CMAC), Delhi.
Sana Das is presently the Course Director of a journalism course in Bangalore called ‘Archaeology of the Media’ run by Educational Trust, Samvada, and is continuing a Ph.D. at the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi. She has been associated with Amnesty International India, Heinrich Boll Foundation, policy research and the study of social movements.
Contributors (photographers/artists/writers from Bangladesh, India, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, USA): Shahidul Alam, Temsula Ao, K.M. Asad, Lipton Bhau, Lachit Bordolai, Suhas Borker, Suvendu Chatterjee, Sana Das, Kanak Mani Dixit, Gowhar Fazili, Iftikhar Gilani, Vrinda Grover, Nandita Haksar, Salima Hashmi, Sohrab Hura, Sonia Jabbar, E.M. Jose, Showkat Kathjoo, Harikrishna Katragadda, Sabrina Lall, Saroj Mohanty, Swapan Nayak, Shahzad Noorani, Chittaroopa Palit, Daniel Pepper, Sara Rahbar, Vibhuti Narain Rai, Abdul Rahman Roslan, Inder Salim, Parthiv Shah, Mukul Sharma, Nandini Sundar and Kian Tajbakhsh