Dayanita Singh at National Museum, New Delhi, 2014
|Born||1961 (age 52–53) 
|Occupation||Contemporary Artist, Photographer|
Dayanita Singh (born 1961) is an Indian social documentary photographer, based in Delhi. She studied Visual Communication at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and Documentary Photography at the International Center of Photography in New York. She has published twelve books: Museum of Chance (2014), Fileroom (2013), House of Love (2011), Dayanita Singh (2010), Dream Villa (2010), Blue Book (2009), Sent a Letter (2008), Go Away Closer (2007), Chairs (2005), Privacy (2003), Myself Mona Ahmed (2001) and Zakir Hussain (1986).
Early life and background
Born in Delhi, in 1961, Singh studied Visual Communication at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and later Documentary Photography at the International Center of Photography in New York.
Singh’s first foray into photography and bookmaking came through a chance encounter with tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, when he invited her to photograph him in rehearsal after she was shoved by an aggressive official while attempting to shoot him in concert. For six winters following this, Singh documented several Hussain tours and, in 1986, finally published the images in her first book, Zakir Hussain. Referring to him as her first “true guru”, Singh believes that Hussain taught her the most important of all skills: focus.
Singh’s second book, Myself Mona Ahmed was published in 2001, after more than a decade spent on assignment as a photojournalist. A mix of photobook, biography, autobiography and fiction, this ‘visual novel’ emerged as a result of Mona’s refusal to be the subject of what could have been a routine but problematic photojournalistic project as well as Singh’s own discomfort with the West’s tendency to view India through simplistic, exotic lenses.
In the years following this, Singh has collaborated with the publisher Gerhard Steidl in Goettingen, Germany to make a number of books, including Privacy, Chairs, the direction-changing Go Away Closer, the seven-volume Sent A Letter, Blue Book, Dream Villa, Fileroom and Museum of Chance. Sent A Letter was included in the 2011 Phaidon Press book Defining Contemporary Art: 25 years in 200 Pivotal Artworks (ISBN 9780714862095). Steidl said in a 2013 interview on Deutsche Welle television, "She is the genius of book making". Dream Villa was produced during her Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography given annually by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University; Singh was its second recipient in 2008.
Singh's works have been presented in exhibitions throughout the world, most notably at the Hayward Gallery in London in 2013  and at the German pavilion in the Venice Biennale. In 2009, the Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid organised a retrospective of her work, which subsequently travelled to Amsterdam, Bogota and Umea. Her pictures of "File Rooms" were first presented in the exhibition, "Illuminazione," at the 2011 Venice Biennale.
In 2014, at the National Museum, New Delhi, the photo-based artist, built the Book Museum using her publications, File Room and Privacy as well as her mothers book, Nony Singh: The Archivist. And she also displayed a part of "Kitchen Museum" which are accordion-fold books with silver gelatin prints in 8 teak vitrines that she makes as letters to fellow travellers or conservationists since 2000. Seven of these were published by Steidl as "Sent a Letter".
- 2014 Museum of Chance: A Book Story, Goethe-Institut, Mumbai 
- 2014 Go Away Closer, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt 
- 2014 Building the Book Museum: photography, language, form National Museum, New Delhi
- 2013 Go Away Closer, Hayward Gallery, London
- 2012 Dayanita Singh: File Room, Frith Street Gallery, London
- 2012 Dayanita Singh / The Adventures of a Photographer, Bildmuseet, Umea University, Sweden
- 2012 Monuments of Knowledge, Photographs by Dayanita Singh, King's College London
- 2012 House of Love, Nature Morte, New Delhi
- 2011 Adventures of a Photographer, Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo
- 2011 House of Love, Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge
- 2011 Dayanita Singh, Museum of Art, Bogota
- 2010 Dayanita Singh, Mapfre Foundation, Madrid
- 2010 Dream Villa, Nature Morte, New Delhi
- 2010 Dayanita Singh (Photographs 1989 – 2010), Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- 2009 Blue Book, Nature Morte, New Delhi
- 2009 Blue Book, Galerie Mirchandani Steinruecke, Bombay
- 2008 Les Rencontres d'Arles festival, France
- 2008 Let You Go, Nature Morte, Berlin
- 2008 Dream Villa, Frith Street Gallery, London
- 2008 Sent a Letter, Alliance Francaise, New Delhi
- 2008 Sent a Letter, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai
- 2008 Ladies of Calcutta, Bose Pacia Gallery, Calcutta
- 2007 Go Away Closer, Kriti gallery, Varanasi
- 2007 Go Away Closer, Gallerie Steinruecke Mirchandani, Mumbai
- 2007 Beds and Chairs, Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
- 2006 Beds and Chairs, Valentina Bonomo gallery, Rome
- 2006 Go Away Closer, Nature Morte, New Delhi
- 2005 Chairs, Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, Boston
- 2005 Chairs, Frith Street Gallery, London
- 2005 Chairs, Studio Guenzani, Milan
- 2004 Privacy, Rencontres-Arles, Arles
- 2003 Dayanita Singh: Privacy, Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin
- 2003 Myself Mona Ahmed, Museum of Asian Art, Berlin
- 2003 Dayanita Singh: Image/Text (Photographs 1989–2002), Department of Art and Aesthetics. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
- 2002 I am as I am, Myself Mona Ahmed, Scalo Galerie, Zurich
- 2002 Parsees at Home, Gallery Chemould, Bombay
- 2002 Bombay to Goa, Kalaghoda Festival, Bombay
- 2002 Bombay to Goa, Art House India, Goa
- 2001 Empty Spaces, Frith Street Gallery, London
- 2000 Demello Vado, Saligao Institute, Goa
- 2000 I am as I am, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
- 2000 Dayanita Singh, Gallery Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels
- 2000 Dayanita Singh, Tempo Festival, Stockholm
- 1999 Mona Darling, Venezia Immagine, Venice
- 1999 Family Portraits, Studio Guenzani, Milan
- 1998 Family Portraits, Nature Morte, New Delhi
- 1997 Images from the 90s, Scalo Galerie, Zurich
- 2013 Biennale di Venezia, German Pavilion.
- 2011 Paris-Delhi-Bombay, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris
- 2007 Private/Corporate, Sammlung Daimler Chrysler, Berlin
- 2006 Sub-Contingent, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin
- 2006 The Eighth Square, Ludwig Museum, Cologne
- 2006 Cities in Transition, NYC, Boston Hartford
- 2005 Presence, Sepia International, New York
- 2005 Edge of Desire, Asia Society, New York
- 2004 Ten Commandments, Stiftung Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden
- 2004 Edge of Desire, art gallery of Western Australia, Perth
- 2003 Architektur der Obdachlosigkeit, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
- 2003 The Family, Windsor Gallery, Florida
- 2002 Red Light, Australian Center for Photography, Sydney
- 2002 Kapital und Karma. Aktuelle Positionen indischer Kunst, Kunsthalle, Wien
- 2002 Bollywood – Das indische Kino und die Schweiz, Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich
- 2002 Banaras: The Luminous City, Asia Society, New York
- 2002 Photo Sphere, Nature Morte, New Delhi
- 2000 Century City, Tate Modern, London
- 1999 Another Girl, Another Planet, Greenberg Gallery, New York
- 1999 Inferno and Paradiso, BildMuseet Umeå, Sweden
- 1999 Worlds of Work – Images of the South, Musée d'ethnographie, Geneva
- 1998 Another India, Crealdé School of Art, Orlando, Florida
- 1998 La Filature, Mulhouse, France
- 1997 India—A Celebration of Independence,1947–1997, Museum of Fine Arts, Philadelphia
- 1997 Out of India, Contemporary Art of the South Asian Diaspora, Queens Museum of Art, New York
- 1997 India—A Contemporary View, Asian Arts Museum, San Francisco
- 1995 So many worlds—Photographs from DU Magazine, Holderbank, Aargau, Switzerland
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- "Its Her Story". The Hindu.
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- "Defining contemporary art : 25 years in 200 pivotal artworks". Catalogue. University of Technology, Sydney. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- "Die Fotografin Dayanita Singh" (in German). Deutsche Welle. 2 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- "An insomniac's guide to photography". Mint. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- "How Close is Closer: The Work of Dayanita Singh". Retrieved 29 October 2014.
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- "Infinite possibilities". Financial Times. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- "Mumbai - Event Calendar". Retrieved 19 November 2014.
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- ""I Don't Want to Be Bound by Anything": Dayanita Singh Brings Her Cerebral Art to London's Frith Street Gallery". Artinfo. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- "The Always Exceptional Condition of Images". Art-iT. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- "Dayanita Singh – Exhibitions". Museum Huis Voor Fotografie. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- "Dayanita Singh: Dream Villa". Frith Street Gallery. 2008. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- Aveek Sen (11 January 2007). "A Distance of One's Own – Dayanita Singh's Go Away Closer". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- Holland Cotter (30 March 2005). "Objects of Repose and Remembrance". New York Times. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- Gayatri Sinha (30 November 2003). "Documentation of life". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 7 October 2013.
- "Postcards from the Edge". Time. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
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