My Name Is Raj

A Walkthrough

Perth International Arts Festival – 2013

About the Installation

“Srinivas Krishna’s participatory installation My Name Is Raj playfully references the aspirational desires embodied in Indian commercial photography. A wall of portraits drawn from Indian photo studios testifies to a common phenomenon of 20th-century India, in which members of the burgeoning Delhi and Bombay middle classes sought to impress friends, potential employers or a possible bride’s parents by having photos taken of themselves garbed as doctors, lawyers or other respected professionals; the photo studio, in effect, becomes a place to assume a new possible persona. Krishna presents a more abstracted version of this on an adjacent projection wall, which features a loop of clips from the films of the legendary actor-director Raj Kapoor—beloved as the “Everyman” of Bollywood cinema, whose life and career became an aspirational model for his global fan base—that substitutes head shots of contemporary personalities (including Krishna) for those of the actors, reinforcing the mutability of representational identity in the commercial image culture of the Subcontinent. Viewers then enter a photo studio to engage in personal image construction themselves: their portraits are taken and then embedded within Kapoor’s characters, then displayed on outward-facing monitors and take-home printouts, giving a digital twist to a formerly analogue phenomenon.”

- Noah Cowan, Artistic Director TIFF Bell Lightbox

The Trailer