Women in Film & Photography 2023 Exhibition
Nothing Left to Call Home | TANIYA SARKAR

Nothing Left to Call Home is an ongoing long-term visual research project centred on the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh. It focuses on unearthing women’s narratives from the multi-faceted and complex communal events since India’s partition and independence in 1947. The chapter presented at Objectifs explores how these events have historically manifested as patriarchal violence against women.

The 2020 Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), known as “the anti-Muslim law,” sparked nationwide protests and communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Delhi. While covering the protest as a freelance photojournalist, I witnessed mobs attacking women and infants with acid bulbs, as well as targeting journalists. Later, massive communal clashes broke out in my home state. Again, women were targeted.

Since 2020, I have focused on collecting the accounts of women from Bengal who were disproportionately affected by communal polarisation, riots, and migration since the partition. Survivors of these clashes reveal that the actual narratives of Bengal’s communal violence are more complex, arising at the intersection of politics, religion, and patriarchy. I hope to fill the gaps in official accounts with portraits and visual metaphors of women whose narratives have long been forgotten. In this work, memory is a form of resistance that will always be relevant as long as institutions attempt to marginalise certain histories and legitimise misdeeds.

About Taniya Sarkar
Taniya Sarkar (b. 1992) is a photographer based in Kolkata, the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. She obtained her Bachelor’s (2012) and Master’s (2015) degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Calcutta while working as a freelancer in the local news media during her studies. In 2017, she went to Dhaka, Bangladesh to study professional photography at the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. She was selected as a WaterAid India fellow in 2019. During her fellowship in 2020, she witnessed massive communal violence in Delhi, the capital of India. She started documenting the aftermath of the pogrom as an independent photographer. Later on, in the same year, she started researching communal violence in her own home state, West Bengal since Indian Independence (1947).

Taniya’s works have been exhibited at Indian Photo Festival (2020) and Städtische Galerie Nordhorn, Germany as part of the exhibition ‘CLOSE CONTACT’ (2021-2022). She is a student grant recipient for The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund (2022), Inge Morath Award 2021 (Finalist), Magnum Foundation, Generator Grant 2021, Experimenter Grant 2021, Social Documentary Grant, Murthy Nayak Foundation and SACAC in 2021. International Center of Photography (ICP) New York, awarded her the most prestigious Mary Ellen Mark Memorial Scholarship to join the One-Year Certificate program in Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism program (2021-2022).

For the rest of our Women in Film and Photography 2023 programme, visit here.