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A catalogue for the exhibit 'Following the Box' based on found negatives and prints from India in 1945 and the new artwork it inspired.
A catalogue for the exhibit 'Following the Box' based on found negatives and prints from India in 1945 and the new artwork it inspired.
A catalogue for the exhibit 'Following the Box' based on found negatives and prints from India in 1945 and the new artwork it inspired.
58 backers pledged $8,212 to help bring this project to life.

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Following the Box

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Following the Box

This is a mystery story--a film and art exhibit--a visual dialogue between photographers and artists from the U.S. and India over time. It is based on artists Alan Teller and Jerri Zbiral’s chance discovery of a box of photographs and 4x5 inch negatives at an estate sale near Chicago. Dated 1945, the striking portraits, images of temples, village life and military scenes were evidently made by a still unknown U.S. soldier stationed in West Bengal. Initially funded by a Fulbright-Nehru grant, the project addresses the mystery of who took the photos and for what purpose but adds another dimension: exploring how historical images can inspire the creation of new art works. Ten prominent Indian artists in varying disciplines (painting, photography, film, mixed-media, graphic arts, graphic novel, folk art) participated, as did U.S. based artists Teller and Zbiral. Each artist interpreted the old photos in their own way, informed both by their personal artistic vision and by the cultural net that envelops us all.

Already exhibited in India, the exhibit is now coming to the Loyola University Museum of Art in downtown Chicago. We are seeking funds to create a catalogue that showcases the work done by all the participating artists. 

The film and exhibit illustrate the point that photographs are both windows to another time and place and mirrors of ourselves and our culture. It is a fascinating cross-cultural exploration, a celebration of the power of art. As the world becomes more interconnected, understanding the cultural contexts we each bring to interpreting photographs becomes more and more significant. The public programs that will accompany the film and exhibit address those issues.

A 3,000 sq. ft. exhibit of both the historic work and the contemporary art it inspired will show at the Loyola University Museum of Art in Chicago from July 6, 2018 – October 13, 2018. We need your help to be able to create a catalogue to accompany this ground-breaking exhibit. 

See http://followingthebox.com for more information. Back the project and receive one of participating artist Prabir Purkayastha's gorgeous photographs:

See https://goo.gl/yDRw4X to select an image. 

Or choose one of Jerri's images:

Or one of Alan's:

Sarbajit Sen's graphic novel created for Following the Box is also available:  

Many other premiums are available to thank you for your support.

International supporters, please contact us through the website to determine shipping costs for premiums.

Participating artists: Aditya Basak (painting); Alakananda Nag (installation); Alan Teller (installation); Amritah Sen (book art); Chhtrapati Dutta (mixed-media); Jerri Zbiral (mixed-media); Mamata Basak (mixed media); Prabir Purkayastha (photography); Sanjeet Chowdhury (film + photography); Sarbajit Sen (graphic novel); Sunandini Banerjee (illustration); Swarna Chitrakar (folk-art). 

Risks and challenges

Working internationally is always a challenge. We made a preliminary research trip to India in 2011 to gauge whether these old photos might hold any interest to Indian people. They were thrilled. The artists we approached were eager to participate, to put their spin on what the photos could mean. We received a Fulbright grant and returned in 2013-14, living in Kolkata for 5 months. We've made 4 subsequent trips, culminating in the exhibit that opens this July in Chicago. The challenge now is to design and produce a catalogue that does justice to the creative work of all the participating artists and that honors the work done so many years ago by our still unknown photographer. We are confident that the final catalogue will be an exciting testament to the power of art across space and time.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Signed postcard show announcement

    Beautiful postcard for the Loyola University Museum of Art's hosting of 'Following the Box.' Signed by Curators Alan Teller & Jerri Zbiral

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    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    Download of Following the Box film

    Digital download of the half-hour Following the Box documentary film

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Signed copy of exhibit catalogue

    A signed copy of the beautiful, perfect-bound 52 page exhibit catalogue.

    Includes:
    • Signed postcard show announcement
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    4x5 in. modern print from the collection

    4x5 in. archival pigment print on 8½x11 in. paper of an image from the historic 10th PTU archive featured in the exhibit.

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    • Signed postcard show announcement
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All of the above

    Postcard, catalogue, and print.

    Includes:
    • Signed postcard show announcement
    • Up to 6 signed catalogues from the LUMA exhibit
    • 4x5 in. print from the collection
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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Postcard, Catalogue and Print

    All the above! Such a deal!

    Includes:
    • 4x5 in. print from the collection
    • Signed catalogue from the LUMA exhibit
    • Signed postcard show announcement
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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Signed photograph by one of the curators

    8x10 in. signed archival pigment print by curators Alan Teller OR Jerri Zbiral. See choices in project description.

    Includes:
    • Signed postcard show announcement
    • Signed catalogue from the LUMA exhibit
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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Signed photograph by one of the Curators

    11x14 in. signed archival pigment print by curators Alan Teller OR Jerri Zbiral. See choices in project description.

    Includes:
    • Signed catalogue from the LUMA exhibit
    • Signed postcard show announcement
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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    12x16 in. photo by Prabir Purkayastha

    12x16 in. signed, archival pigment print by participating artist Prabir Purkayastha. See http://goo.gl/gdm6Nd for selection.

    Includes:
    • Signed postcard show announcement
    • Signed catalogue from the LUMA exhibit
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    Pledge $550 or more About $550

    Sarbajit Sen portfolio

    Portfolio of 8 graphic panels by Sarbajit Sen, featured in the 'Following the Box' exhibit

    Includes:
    • Signed postcard show announcement
    • Signed catalogue from the LUMA exhibit
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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    16x24 in. photo by Prabir Purkayastha

    16x24 in. signed, archival pigment print by participating artist Prabir Purkayastha

    Includes:
    • Signed postcard show announcement
    • Signed catalogue from the LUMA exhibit
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    Pledge US$ 700 or more About US$ 700

    Indian dinner for 4

    Indian dinner for 4 at the home of curators Alan Teller and Jerri Zbiral plus the following:

    Includes:
    • 2 original photographs by curators Alan Teller and Jerri Zbiral
    • Download of Following the Box film
    • Signed catalogue from the LUMA exhibit
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    Pledge US$ 800 or more About US$ 800

    Guided tour

    Guided “Stories Behind the Exhibit” tour by curators of the LUMA exhibit. Maximum 12 people in the group.

    Includes:
    • Portfolio of 8 graphic panels by Sarbajit Sen
    • Signed postcard show announcement
    • Download of Following the Box film
    • Up to 6 signed catalogues from the LUMA exhibit
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Funding period

- (30 days)