Launched in 2013 as the city’s first ever photography festival, over the last 2 editions FOCUS, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies has worked with 60 partners, hosted 58 exhibitions and attracted over 80,000 visitors.
FOCUS 2017 will present an ambitious 14 day programme with over 25 exhibitions and 50 events across the city. The festival will include major travelling photography exhibitions, shown in India for the first time, and collaborations with international photography festivals. Alongside exhibitions in Mumbai’s leading galleries and museums the festival will bring photography outside traditional spaces, to reach bigger and more diverse audiences, and into an eclectic range of venues from stores and cafes to the streets of Mumbai.
An extensive series of free outreach events will complement existing programming, including talks, workshops, mentor sessions, screenings and walk-throughs. Opportunities for thoughtful dialogue and exchange, professional development for young photographers and an education platform for children.
FOCUS is a celebration of the democratic nature of photography and its core aim is to make the art form accessible to everyone across the city. All FOCUS exhibitions and events are free and open to all, inviting a broad cross section of society to engage with art in public spaces, museums, galleries and alternative venues.
This year’s festival theme is Memory, investigating the bond photography and memory have always shared and the need to question this relationship. Autobiography as Memory at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum is the result of a worldwide call by FOCUS for photographers to submit work on the festival’s theme. It received over 200 entries from 39 countries and this final exhibition curated by art historian and writer Prajna Desai will feature works by 18 finalists from around the world.
International highlights include Masterji, Maganbhai Patel the Indian premiere of a renowned touring exhibition first shown in Coventry, UK, in November 2016. The exhibition depicts a young man who left Bombay to move to Coventry in 1951. Feeling unfulfilled with his mundane day-job, Masterji picked up his camera and started to shoot the new community.
Now aged 94, Masterji’s life’s work has been painstakingly restored and curated and will be shown as part of FOCUS at Akara Art. Also on display for the first time in India will be works by William Gedney (1932 – 1989) as part of the exhibition Gedney in India, at Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation. As one of the key figures of American black and white street photography the exhibition highlights his work during two visits to India, as a Fulbright scholar from 1969 to 1971 and on his return to India ten years later. Photographs by two Japanese artists, Yuki Iwanami and Kota Kishi, will be on view in India for the first time, presented in collaboration with Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Photography now, then: picturing loss in photography in Japan.
FOCUS has been made possible by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has provided founding support since the first festival in 2013.FOCUS is led by Directors Elise Foster Vander Elst and Matthieu Foss.
Visit the FOCUS Hub at Ministry of New to pick up a festival guide, sign up for portfolio reviews, attend a talk, sit down and read a magazine from the exclusive Paper Planes display.