Reimagine Olivia Arthur and Bharat Sikka A Photoworks/FOCUS Festival Mumbai co-commission in partnership with the University of Brighton

Olivia Arthur (UK) and Bharat Sikka (India) have collaborated for the first time to explore private and public presentation of self-image in relation to the body, gender, sexuality and fantasy.

Working with communities in both Mumbai and Brighton, cities with sharply contrasting politics of gender and sexuality, the photographers have collaborated with their participants to produce a new documentary project.

The work they have researched and developed together revolves to a large extent around individuals who identify themselves as being part of the LGBTQ+ community and importantly, a community that represents contemporary diversity in relation to sexuality and gender.

Click below for interactive panoramas.



Photo Credits: Nigel Green 

Both photographers have worked on large format film. Working in black and white, Olivia has created images that explore people’s sense of self within their sexual identity. Working in colour, Bharat has offset this reality and added an element of fiction to his private and public scenes. The public and private spheres in which the photographs are set present a contrast and raise questions as to the private and public presentation of self and the influence of locale on gender and sexuality.

Artist Lindsey Smith has worked closely with the photographers in the UK to make connection with participants on the project. Partners include: Marlborough Pub & Theatre, Allsorts Youth Project and GScene.

Research and development supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Re:Imagine India programme and the University of Brighton

Olivia Arthur (b. 1980) is a London-based photographer, who has worked for many years on the East-West cultural divide. Her first book, Jeddah Diary, was about the lives of young women in Saudi Arabia. Her second book, Stranger, is a journey into Dubai seen through the eyes of the survivor of a shipwreck. Her work has been exhibited internationally and has been included in institutional collections in the UK, USA, Germany and Switzerland. She is co-founder of Fishbar, a publisher and space for photography in London. She is a member of Magnum Photos.

Bharat Sikka (b. 1973) grew up in India and now lives and works between Europe and India. He studied at the Parsons School of Design, New York. Documenting contemporary visions of India, Bharat has exhibited widely and has contributed to publications such as The New York TimesWThe New Yorkeri.DVogueVogue Homme InternationalDetails and Time Magazine.

Visitor Feedback

“An open-minded exploration of the LGBTQ+ community within Brighton and India”.

“An open book on modern culture”.

“Photography is a really powerful way of exploring issues of identity and sexuality, and this exhibition pulls it off extremely well. Haunting portraits in thought-provoking contexts”.

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