The Kitab – India’s first Photobook festival – was created to offer art in a different form and format. Art, most often, remains confined to showcases and exhibitions, or high-end museums and galleries which inherently tend to be aimed for a only a selected section of the society. The Kitab, on the other hand, intends to take art where it belongs; to the people, to every one. The Kitab takes photography to people who may otherwise never get to observe or experience the art and beauty of photography and its books. It aims to take photography to a completely new, diverse and wider audience.
Recently, The Kitab concluded its second edition which was highly successful and well appreciated. The recent edition of the festival took place in the beautiful city of Chandigarh which is known for its unique planning, architecture and several green spaces. For three days – 9th to 11th August, 2017 – Chandigarh hosted a number of photo book exhibitions. The festival generated a lot of enthusiasm and managed to reach out to a highly diverse and engaging audience. The highlight events of the festival were exhibitions and discussions at the Student Centre (Panjab University) focusing on the LGBT cause, and at ‘Choti Si Asha’, a women’s empowerment initiative.
The exhibitions included our old archive of photobooks, and were also complemented with new editions from the Asia Pacific region, including China, Japan, Iran, Korea, Pakistan, and Thailand. There was a special exhibition of ‘Our Favourite Zines’, which turned out to be quite exciting for the festival audience.
The festival was able to generate discussions and ideas on the importance of bringing art to the marginalized sections of the society, and how The Kitab could facilitate the under-represented and under-privileged to have an equal and just access to the art of photography and photobooks. And by holding exhibitions at non-traditional venues, like schools, ngos, and libraries, the festival was able to locate and connect with new audience and spaces.
The Kitab journey has just begun. There are several new editions being planned right now and we hope to take our initiative to as many cities as possible.
The Kitab will return soon. With a new edition, a new city and several new stories.