About the project
Centralia is an Indian docu-fiction that journeys deep into the forests of central India where a little known and under reported conflict between an indigenous tribal people and the Indian state slowly simmers.
I have been working on Centralia for the past nine years. Journeying ever deeper into a labyrinthine conflict over land, resources and identity. This area is home to vast mineral deposits - iron ore, bauxite, coal - but it is also home to India’s indigenous tribal population. Caught between the Indian state and the Maoist guerrillas, they are fighting for their very survival as their land and environment is eroded through the brutal extraction of these minerals.
Through this work I am looking to expose the violence that accompanies the bipolar development narratives present within contemporary India: between those who endorse the project of corporate industrialisation and those who oppose it.
I have seen first hand the devastating affects of this terrible violence on native communities and how, as is the case throughout the world, violence has become the de-facto language of politics.
Through this work I am looking to find a new way to communicate the reality of modern warfare where the frontline is blurred and the conflict's many actors all occupy opaque roles.
In war, truth is the first casualty. Centralia explores the unsteady relationship between reality and fiction and how our perceptions of reality and truth are manipulated.
Through my work I have become known for advocating for the rights of women.
I am drawn to ordinary women who find themselves in extraordinary situations. The women of rural India are largely perceived to be voiceless and home bound, but women form a substantial part of the Maoist guerillas. In a country where the role of a woman is confined mostly to the hearth, these female guerrillas are changing the face of modern India and quietly challenging the prevailing orthodoxies of their societies.
The book draws on contemporary documentary practice to reflect the bewildering atmosphere of a nation by using pictures of foreboding landscapes and rituals alongside images of locals uncovering crime scenes.
Through this work I am looking to push the boundaries of my own documentary practice - to construct a narrative that borrows from the tropes of science fiction to create a hallucinatory reflection that ponders the process of corporate mining and the violence that accompanies such extraction.
About the book
Collaboration is key for me in producing the best work. Centralia has been designed by award winning designer Teun van der Heijden and will be published by esteemed photo book publisher Dewi Lewis. Our aim has been to create a book with many layers that stands up to repeated viewing. Constructed using the best papers and other materials, Centralia will be a beautiful and collectable object.
The texts within the book have also been produced in collaboration with local grassroots journalists. And, an additional end text is being produced by Ivan Sigal, artist and Executive Director of Global Voices, a non-profit online global citizens’ media initiative.
Centralia is due to go to print in August, and will be shipped by mid October 2019.
Awards and Press
With your kind and generous support I can make this project a reality.
Please take a look at the exclusive offers I have made available for you if you choose to support this project. From a special discounted rate for the book through to a personal 6 months mentorship programme.
Risks and challenges
The project is complete. All images have been taken, scanned and prepared. I want to make this book the best it can possibly be and every effort is being taken to ensure we produce a quality book.
The design is ready to go and the book is due to be printed in August. All this has been achieved with the wonderful support of award winning designer Teun van der Heijden and esteemed publisher Dewi Lewis. Given this depth of experience we will do everything possible to ensure we adhere to the schedule indicated in our campaign. I will share regular updates so you can see how the production is moving forward.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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