Dayanita Singh

Biography of Dayanita Singh

The Indian photographer Dayanita Singh has often described herself as a “bookmaker working with photography”. Born in 1961 in Delhi, Singh uses photography to expand the manner in which the viewer relates to photographic imagery. Playing on various forms of visual narration, Singh first made a name for herself by documenting the tabla maestro Zakir Hussain in rehearsal before eventually publishing the book Zakir Hussain in 1986.


A few years later Dayanita Singh met her muse and best friend the grand eunuch Mona Ahmed. Her work Myself Mona Ahmed, 2001 was part autobiography, fiction, and photo essay was critically acclaimed and gave her an international profile.


From 1980 to 1986 Dayanita Singh studied Visual Communication at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, and in 1988, she completed a course in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the International Centre of Photography, New York.


Singh does not want her photographs to be single-images but interconnected bodies of work. She has experimented with different ways of presenting her work as visual poetry, using projections, or in museums wooden structures that allow the work to have multiple narratives. In 2010 Singh had a solo show at the Fundacíon Mapfre in Madrid and in 2012 she exhibited at Bildmuseet, Umeå in Sweden. Dayanita Singh lives in Delhi but travels constantly all round the world. Her international profile is growing exponentially and in 2013 she was featured in the German pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

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