B Ajay Sharma
Benares (or Varanasi) is a continual inspiration for Sharma, firing his imagination with its philosophy of life and death, life beyond death, and being and non-being. Ever since he witnessed the celebration of death there as a student at Benares Hindu University, the idea of life and death being mere junctions in a much longer journey has haunted and captivated his work.
The depth and layers he seeks to create have led him to a dynamic and unconventional multi-disciplinary approach. For Sharma the content determines the medium, and he uses painting, drawing, print-making, sound and text in his creations. One of his most fascinating practices is his alternative approach to photography. Here he dances between analogue (even using a self-made panoramic pinhole camera) and digital, and uses a range of printing techniques - cyanotype (the process that gave rise to the term blueprint) and the traditional and complex Van Dyke process to name but two.
He also uses performance - himself featuring in many of his works. ‘The first time I performed in my work I was creating an installation in which I wanted to use Yoga postures. The idea of Yoga as something that extends beyond the body is what excites me. Somehow nobody else could do these with the exactitude I wanted so I ended up using my body as the medium. Now I find using my own body is often the best way to translate what’s in my mind. ’
Sharma’s works have shown across India, South-East Asia and Europe in the form of public art projects, residencies, and exhibitions. He lives and works in Delhi where he also runs Shay-Ghar, a photographic group committed to alternate forms of photography.