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February 02, 2017

A Hint Of Nostalgia with Waswo X. Waswo

Text by Huzan Tata. Image Courtesy: ©Waswo X. Waswo (with Rajesh Soni) / Courtesy Tasveer

Delve into Waswo X. Waswo’s hand-coloured images that offer witty commentary on stereotypes and preconceptions

Playing on the photo as an ethnographic document as well as a canvas for fantasy and make-believe, a single glance will tell you who has created them. American artist and frequent Verve contributor Waswo X. Waswo, who settled in Udaipur a decade ago, is known for his distinctive photographic works — both a critique of contemporary life and an homage to traditional studio portraits of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Tasveer’s exhibition Photowallah presents, for the first time, several of Waswo’s classics along with some never-seen-before frames. These images, hand-coloured by the artist’s frequent collaborator Rajesh Soni, evoke a time before colour photography. ‘I embrace a certain element of nostalgia in my work, which is quite a daring thing to do when the very word is thought of as negative in the world of contemporary art. We must always look backwards as well as forwards, and nostalgia does play a role in helping us remember the positive in the past that we may have forgotten in our present and lose to total obliteration in our future. So for me it becomes just another tool for making art,’ says Waswo in an essay about his works.

Photowallah is on display at The India Art Fair, New Delhi till February 5, 2017. The book of prints is available on

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