Dewan Dayal Principal Street 275h


Visions of Colonialism and Modernity: 19th-century India and the Photographs of Deen Dayal

Thursday 12 November at 18:30 in EV-1.615
Concordia University

Deepali Dewan
Royal Ontario Museum

In a field dominated by Europeans, Raja Deen Dayal (1844-1905) stands out for the high degree of success he achieved in the early period of photography in India. Dayal established three important commercial studios and produced almost 30,000 images over a nearly four-decade-long career in an era marked by British colonialism, the beginnings of nationalist sentiment, and the changing tide of modernity. This talk focuses on how Dayal was able to master the practice of photography in three distinct but overlapping cultural arenas: the British colonial administration; the Princely States, where he was the official photographer of the most wealthy 'native' ruler of the time, the Nizam of Hyderabad; and the emerging commercial centre of what was then called Bombay. While Dayal's career is central to the history of the early period of photography in India, his practice also has important contributions to make to our understanding of photographic history more broadly in terms of photography's use of painted models, its identity as art or science, and its relationship to 'truth.'

Deepali Dewan is an art historian of South Asian visual culture. She joined the Royal Ontario Museum in January 2002 as associate curator of South Asian Civilizations. Dewan is cross-appointed as assistant professor in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto, is part of the department's graduate faculty, and is affiliated with the Centre for South Asian Studies. Dewan's research interests span the 19th- and 20th-century visual cultures of South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora. Most recently, her research has focused on history and theory of photography in India.

Image: Raja Deen Dayal, Principal Street leading to Char Minar, December 1887-February 1888, Albumen print, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. Royal Ontario Museum. 2007.17.13.55 Cyrus and Ruth Jhabvala Collection. Gift of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust.