Culture - NOMINEE: Sharbendu De
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Imagined Homeland (2013-ongoing) is a crossover documentary series on the life of the Tibeto-Burmese Lisu tribe living in the dense forests of Namdapha National Park (NNP) and Tiger Reserve on the remote Indo-Myanmar border of Arunachal Pradesh, India.
The Lisus call the forests ‘home’, self educate their children, heal their sick, build each other’s home and church, and pray together. Without an external economy they mostly barter, living symbiotically with nature as a self-sufficient community. Yet, they’re trapped, and are waiting. I attempt to reflect this dystopia, grace and dignity in the surreal portraits.
How does cohabiting with nature influence us? What lessons does this way of life offer mankind especially in Anthropocene where the world has constructed a society far removed from nature?
In Imagined Homeland, I search for these answers by exploring the relationship between human and nature using intersections between symbolism and mythology. It envisions evoking feelings of the elusive home.
Sharbendu De (India, 1978) is a contemporary photographer, writer and academic. He actively works within the ‘staged and constructed’ genre and is exploring a contemporary visual language alongside his documentary work. He did his MA Photojournalism from the University of Westminster (2010), London, and is presently engaged as a Visiting Professor teaching photojournalism and documentary photography at Jamia Millia Islamia University (2012-present), New Delhi among other places.
De was recently shortlisted for Lucie Foundation Scholarship in 2017 for 'Photo Made' section. His series ‘Between Grief and Nothing’ has been exhibited in Econtros da Imagem, Photo Kathmandu, Goethe Institut in New Delhi and Mumbai, and has been featured on GUP Magazine, LensCulture as well as Invisible Photographer Asia. His work has been exhibited in UK, Portugal, Nepal, and across India.
He has also worked for international not-for-profits like UNDP, Oxfam India, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), World Vision India, WWF-UK, CARE India, WWF-India, Greenpeace, Rotary International, Save The Children Finland, Save The Children Bal Raksha Bharat etc. His work has been published across Mashable, Outlook Traveller, Fountain Ink, Marie Claire, Indian Express, Caravan Magazine, Motherland etc.