Akshay Mahajan (b. 1985)
A photographer, curator and writer, Akshay Mahajan uses allegories derived from regional folklore and mythology to compose narratives about the life and culture of the various communities that he interacts with.
In 2009, he co-founded Blindboys.org, with filmmaker and photographer Kapil Das, as a response to the lack of opportunities for Indian photographers at the time. It began as a community-driven online platform with the aim to connect photographers at all levels of their careers. Blindboys’ street festival BlowUp brought Asian photography directly into the public sphere, with iterations in Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, Siem Reap, Newcastle, Paris, Bali and Tokyo.
Mahajan was a member of the photo editorial PIX Quarterly, a contemporary photography publication that features lens-based practice in South Asia. In 2011 he co-founded Printer’s Devil in New Delhi with photojournalist Kaushik Ramaswamy, as a digital restoration and photographic printing studio.
Some of his most prominent projects include People of Clay (2016), a photo series inspired by the folk songs sung in Goalpara district, in Assam. The work engages local performative traditions, recreating popular myths in collaboration with local artists such as film-makers and folk theater practitioners. Along with the artist Lina Vincent, he co-founded the Goa Familia project in 2019, an evolving archive of family photographs and microhistories from Goa. As a curator, he has worked on the Format Festival, Angkor Photo Festival, Goa Photo and JaipurPhoto among others. His most recent work to die is to be turned to gold (2022–), traces colonial narratives in Bombay (now Mumbai), the city where he spent his childhood.
He has shown his work at various galleries and at photography festivals, in India and internationally. Mahajan was a recipient of the Innovate Artist Grant in 2023.
At the time of writing, the artist lives in Goa.
“Akshay Mahajan.” Innovate Grant. Accessed April 17, 2023. https://innovateartistgrants.org/akshay-mahajan
Bhagat, Himanshu. “A reason to smile.” Mint. July 10, 2009. Accessed April 17, 2023.
“Blindboys.” Quicksand. Accessed April 17, 2023. http://quicksand.co.in/labs/blindboys
Goa Familia. “About.” Accessed March 27, 2022. https://www.goafamilia.com/team/
“Interview: Akshay Mahajan’s Street Haunting – Innovate Artist Grants.” Innovate Grant. Accessed April 17, 2023. https://innovateartistgrants.org/interview-akshay-mahajan-street-haunting
Mansukhani, Annalisa. “Metonymies and Methodologies: Lina Vincent and Akshay Mahajan Discuss the Goa Familia Project.” ASAP Art. September 13, 2021. Accessed March 27, 2022. https://asapconnect.in/post/261/singlestories/metonymies-and-methodologies
Space 118. “Akshay Mahajan.” Accessed March 27, 2022.