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The beauty of the Indian sari has been the subject and context for much photography, my focus is on women wearing saris or shalwar kameez riding motorbikes either sidesaddle pillion or at the wheel themselves. 

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Bikers in Ahmedabad, 7-10 November 22
Bikers in Ahmedabad, 7-10 November 22, Liz Rideal, November 2022

©the artist

Documenting this would create a collective journey of images of this commonplace activity in Ahmedabad. I first photographed the bright cloths billowing in the wind as they raced along the Sardar bridge in 2011 and elsewhere in Gujarat. A beautiful sight, as if in celebration of the dynamic of cloth in movement (and reminiscent to me) of ‘The Cyclist’ by the Russian Futurist, Natalie Goncharova (1913).

As Western wear becomes more prevalent in India (especially in the big cities) this picture will be come less common. The sari is a uniquely female and feminine garment, hand-constructed each time it is worn, from specially woven fabric of specific length and design, with a definite length, breadth and decorative bordering to each sari of six metre garment. Women riding their own motorbikes testifies to their improving independence and financial independence.

Creating an image bank that will record not only saris, but their fleeting context in the city within which these women live and work. The image bank will record not only saris, but their fleeting context. Illustrating how the sari - a timeless garment, can and is being adapted to twenty-first century purpose. This mass of photographic evidence will be a highly colorful record of unknown Indian women. A kind of updated mass observation. The accumulated effect can be imagined but only on completion of the project will one be able to analyse the impact of the multiplicity of imagery.

Artist talks

'Art & Life'
4pm, 9 November 2022, 4pm
Old Auditorium
National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar

‘Art & Life: the artist in relation to art history‘
11.30, 12th November 2022
Auditorium, Faculty of Fine Arts,
Maharaja Sayajirao University
Baroda/Vadodara, Gujarat

Related link

World Sari Day, 21 December (article Times of India)
UCL Global: Exploring saris, transport and gender through photography in Gujarat

Funded by UCL Global Engagement