“For the past eight years, my creative efforts in photography have centered on my interest in exploring my Indian heritage. Growing up in the United States, isolated from Indian culture fostered the cultivation of imaginative fantasy about the land of my ancestry. My father died without telling me much about the culture in which he grew up or the story of his early life there. My knowledge of India ripened from exoticized Western media accounts. Having now made several trips to India, and collected a wealth of photographic images, videotape, and journal writings, I am shaping this material into distinct bodies of art work that document my experiences encountering Indian culture, and connect and contrasts my youthful fantasies of India with my adult experience building a relationship with the people and land of my ancestry.
With this new body of work, I focus on the workers who have traveled from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to the South Asian ethnic enclaves in New York and New Jersey that make up ‘Little India.’ I want to make portraits of these people as they create their own history and traditions in an adopted land. I can’t help but wonder how life for my own family would have been different, had such a community been available when we made the same journey.”
Neil Chowdhury is an artist working in photography and digital media whose work explores the relationships between individuals, their societies, and environments in different cultures. He is an assistant professor and director of the photography program at Cazenovia College, Cazenovia, New York. He has also taught at Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan; and the University of Washington, Seattle. He received his Master of Fine Art in photography at the University of Washington. His photography and digital video works have been exhibited widely in the United States and abroad.