Image as reflection
Pratibimb means “reflection” in Hindi.
A reflection is the image sent back by the surface of an object or, in this case, a subject. What image of ourselves do we send back to ohters? How are we perceived by society? What are the stereotypes that forge our social identity?
These are the questions posed by Vidisha through his series of portraits of Behrupiyas (a Sanskrit word comprised of the terms for “many” and “appearances”).
These street performers, hailing from from nomadic castes found across the entire Indian sub-continent, are known for their custom of changing their role and costume every 42 days. Today, many are employed by the Bollywood entertainment industry, perpetuating the tradition while relaxing its strict adherence to that rule.
Gods and goddesses, a village woman balancing a basket on her head, a Hindu pilgrim, an independence fighter, a tourist..., because these roles are normally played by men, these stereotypes question call into question our perception of gender.
With Pratibimb, Vidisha offers viewers the opportunity to know themselves better by becoming, for a time, someone else.
Vidisha Saini was born in 1989. After earning a degree from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New-Delhi, she pursued a Master’s in Photography and Media at the California Institute for the Arts.
In 2010 and 2011, this series was exhibited at the Format Festival in Manchester, at the Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai, and at the Matthieu Foss Gallery in Mumbai. It was also featured in the cultural magazine Motherland.