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A Vote for Gauri Gill

It’s almost too late, but …

I finally made my long-delayed trip to the AGO.  I’ve been reading about the Grange finalists and realized hey, the vote closes tonight and I haven’t made up my mind.

An alcove at the front of the exhibit features mini-docs of exactly five (5) minutes to each contestant. Relentlessly fair.

I have to admit to getting a little tired of artists’ statements. Half the time they have nothing to do with the work and most of the rest reveal nothing fresh about it. Sometimes they actually contradict what the artist is shooting.  Gauri Gill is a remarkable exception. Speaking about starting with reality and being informed by facts, her work shows her passion for making the invisible visible. She doesn’t have to say it. And in the photos from her series “Notes From the Desert” and “The Americans”, she does much more than that – she dignifies her invisible subjects with strength, playfulness and authenticity. In the case of “Ismat” (below) and many others, she invites them to play with self-representation.

What’s more, she returns to these out-of-the way villages to show her subjects the photos, and to engage them in discussions about them and photography. Hers is a photography of unquestionable moral responsibility. But more than that, she’s not just talking, she’s walking. She gets an A+ for Awe and then some. You can vote for her too at http://thegrangeprize.com/vote-2011

The work of the other finalists, many of whom share ideas about performance, authenticity and the documentary aspect of photography, are also worth seeing. More on them on Friday. The show continues until November 27th – get out and see it!

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