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|Born||1961 (age 51–52)
Dayanita Singh (born 1961) is an Indian photographer, lives and works in New Delhi and now also is partly based in Goa, who is known for her portraits of India's urban middle and upper-class families. Most of her work is in black-and-white, though of late she has also delved into colour, and starting in 1980s she worked as a photo journalist on assignments for international magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, before switching to documentary-style and portrait photography.
Over the years, she has published several books, including Myself Mona Ahmed (2001) and Go Away Closer (2007). and shown at galleries in Rome, New York, Berlin, London, Milan and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Many of her works, are now part of the collection of National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. She received the 2008 Prince Claus Award. and also the 2008 Gardner Photography Fellowship, given by Peabody Museum at Harvard.
From 1980 to 1986 she studied Visual Communication at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. In 1987 and 1988, she studied Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the International Center of Photography, New York.
She started her career, when while shooting tabla player, Zakir Hussain at a concert, she tripped and fell, subsequently Zakir called her for a private photo session, thus starting his career and he continues to be her mentor.
Myself Mona Ahmed 
While working as a photo journalist, for an article, from The Times of London in 1989, she found a new direction as it started a long-term, career-altering project. Finally, in 2001, her book titled 'Myself Mona Ahmed' was published by Scalo, which covers 13 years of photographing Mona, a eunuch (Hijra) whom the photographer also sees as her friend. "The best part for me was that she (Mona) wrote the text for the book herself, dictated as e-mails to the publisher in Switzerland. So she decided what was told and how," said Singh in an interview.
Singh also had a show of her work on the holy city of Varanasi (Benares) at the Ikon Gallery. These included images from the Anandamayee Ma Ashraam. Singh has spent a month as artist-in-residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Her dream is to one-day start a museum in Goa. "I also would have liked to make an archive of all the family portraits existing in Goan homes". Some of Singh's work is also shown in some of the big names of photography in cities like Munich and Florida.
2007 book 
In 2007, her book of caption-less photographs 'Go Away Closer' was published by Steidl Verlag. The India-release was held at the Literati book outlet in Candolim, in February 2007.
Says a media mention of "Go Away Closer": "Singh’s visual compositions don’t give much away, not least because they are accompanied by no tagging, but also because the subjects defy immediate identification." Together with the exhibition is a small publication of the same name and which include 31 of these images.
Singh has said in an interview: "Black-and-white photography is the most fragile form of art. I want my images to be of historical interest to researchers in the future." Singh is seen as having chosen to work with the prestigious Frith Street Gallery, London. She controls her editions and she only publishes with the prestigious Steidl, a prominent publisher in literature and visual arts. As far as her work goes, there are only some 106 photographs in edition after 26 years of photography.
Images without people 
Until Singh visited Goa in 1999, she says she could "never imagine making images without people". But the change has been drastic. "Now I photograph clouds!," she said in an interview.
Singh, earlier based in Delhi, has made a name for herself in an otherwise male-dominanted field, by attracting attention for her feature and news-based photographs in capitals across the globe.
A retrospective of the artist's work is planned at the Hamburger Bahnhoff in the German capital of Berlin in the past, along with a book from reputed publisher Scalo, focussing on the same work. "My publisher and guide made the decision of the retrospective after seeing my Goa images. That's the kind of difference Goa made to my work," she said in an interview.
In particular, Singh has been infatuated by the old world charms of a quaint village called Saligao, which lies just outside the beach-belt. Except in recent years when villagers have protested the large quantities of water being transported from here to the beach-belt, and the dumping of holidayers garbage nearby, the village has been mainly aloof from the hustle and bustle of the over-commercialised beach belt.
Exhibitions, beyond stereotype 
Incidentally, her 'Goa work' formed a major part at a solo show put up in the Frith Street Gallery in London recent years. "I think the Goa work will always be part of any major show I have," Singh argued. "Mostly people cannot believe this is Goa. (There are) no beaches, no colour, just little details, as though hints of something, not quite telling the whole story. So people get intrigued," commented Singh.
She suggests that someone could in fact start 'architectural tours' in a Goa which is itself struggling to find ways to emerge from its current image of being a low-budget sand-and-surf tourist destination, to one which could claim its historical legacy as a meeting place for East and West, both in the past and possibly in the present.
Solo exhibitions 
- 1997 Images from the 90s, Scalo Galerie, Zurich
- 1998 Family Portraits, Nature Morte, New Delhi
- 1999 Mona Darling, Venezia Immagine, Venice
- 1999 Family Portraits, Studio Guenzani, Milan
- 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
- 2001 Empty Spaces, Frith Street Gallery, London
- 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
- 2003 Dayanita Singh: Privacy, Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin
- 2003 Myself Mona Ahmed, Museum für Indische Kunst, Berlin
- 2003 Dayanita Singh: Image/Text (Photographs 1989–2002), Department of Art and Aesthetics. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
- 2004 Privacy, rencontres-arles. Arles
- 2005 Chairs, Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, Boston
- 2005 Chairs, Frith street gallery, London
- 2005 Chairs, Studio Guenzani, Milan
- 2006 Beds and Chairs, Valentina Bonomo gallery, Rome
- 2006 Go Away Closer, Nature Morte, New Delhi
- 2008 Les Rencontres d'Arles festival, France.
- 2007 Go Away Closer, Kriti gallery, Banaras
- 2007 Go Away Closer, Gallerie Steinruecke + Mirchandani, Bombay
- 2007 Beds and Chairs, Gallery Chemould, Bombay
- 2010 Dayanita Singh (Photographs 1989 - 2010), Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Group exhibitions 
- 1995 So many worlds—Photographs from DU Magazine, Holderbank, Aargau, Switzerland
- 1997 India—A Contemporary View, Asian Arts Museum, San Francisco
- 1997 India—A Celebration of Independence,1947–1997 Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, Philadelphia
- 1997 Out of India, Contemporary Art of the South Asian Diaspora, Queens Museum of Art, New York
- 1998 Another India, Crealdé School of Art, Orlando, Florida
- 1998 La Filature, Mulhouse, France
- 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
- 2000 Century City, Tate Modern, London
- 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
- 2003 Architektur der Obdachlosigkeit, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
- 2003 The Family, Windsor Gallery, Florida
- 2004 Ten Commandments, Stiftung Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden
- 2004 Edge of Desire, art gallery of Western Australia, Perth
- 2005 Presence, Sepia International, New York
- 2005 Edge of Desire, Asia Society, New York
- 2006 Sub-Contingent, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin
- 2006 The Eighth Square, Ludwig Museum, Cologne
- 2006 Cities in Transition, NYC, Boston Hartford
- 2007 Private/Corporate, Sammlung Daimler Chrysler, Berlin
- 2011 Paris-Delhi-Bombay, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris
- Zakir Hussain. Himalayan Books, New Delhi 1986
- Myself Mona Ahmed, Scalo Verlag, Zurich, New York 2001
- Privacy, Steidl, Germany 2003
- Chairs, Steidl, Germany 2005
- Go Away Closer, Steidl, Germany 2007
- "Dayanita Singh". Frieze (magazine).
- "Objects of Repose and Remembrance". New York Times. March 30, 2005.
- "Black, White and Blue". Indian Express. Jun 05 2010.
- "Dayanita Singh: Gardner Photography Fellow 2008". Peabody Museum.
- "Showcase - Photography". National Gallery of Modern Art website.
- "Dayanita Singh: India". Prince Claus Award website.
- Surendran, CP; Crest, TOI (Jun 3, 2010). "Negative to positive". The Times of India.
- "Leaving a lot to one's imagination". Business Standard. February 11, 2007.
- "Dayanita Singh Profile,Interview and Artworks"
- Dayanita Singh, website
- Dayanita Singh at Gallery Nature Morte
- Dayanita Singh on Frith Street gallery
- Aveek Sen on Dayanita Singh's "Go Away Closer", a comment titled "A distance of one's own". The Telegraph
- Dyanita Singh, Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2010 exhibition
- Stealing in the night. An interview with Dayanita Singh Video by Louisiana Channel