Kushal Ray (b. 1960)
A former sports journalist, Kushal Ray now works as an independent photographer and painter. He is best known for his documentation of domestic life in Kolkata.
Ray was born in Kolkata and received a BA from the University of Calcutta. Soon after this, he joined The Telegraph as a sports reporter in 1982. He developed an interest in photography while working on photo essays for the newspaper, many of which included international as well as domestic sports events. In 1991, he left The Telegraph and began working as an independent photographer. Ray’s first solo exhibition, Everyday Life of an Exotic Land, was shown at Piramal Gallery, Mumbai in 1998, and consisted of photographs of Ladakh. One of these photographs was purchased by the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi. In 1995, Ray was invited to join Arts Acre, an organisation led and founded by artist Subhaprasanna, where he worked for four years and contributed periodically to group shows.
Between 1998 and 2012, Ray worked on Intimacies, his most celebrated series, for which he documented the everyday life of a joint family in Kolkata. As a friend and frequent visitor to the family’s 90-year-old home, Ray was privy to the lives of all ten members of the family across generations. The project explored the complexities and nuanced social dynamics that played out in the 12-room house, which is considered a large but traditional residence for an “upper” caste Indian family. Intimacies was published in 2012 as a book of 8000 photographs, and text written by author Kunal Basu.
Ray was feted with a Senior Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture in 2011 for his documentation of the Indian Railways, which was published in the photobook Once On A Train while his book Intimacies was nominated for the Best Photobook award at Le Bal des Débutantes, Paris by Dayanita Singh in 2012. He showcased his work in Relative Values: Some Current Trends in India Photography in 2007, at the University of Southampton, UK; Click! Contemporary Photography in India, in 2008 at Vadehra Gallery in New Delhi and London; and a solo show and a talk at the British Museum in 2014, organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute. Ray has also taken part in multiple photography and art festivals, including the Singapore International Photography Festival, the Delhi Photo Festival and Chobi Mela in Dhaka.
At the time of writing, the artist lives and works in Kolkata.
Basu, Kunal and Kushal Ray. Intimacies. New Delhi: Niyogi Books, 2012.
Blaney, Aileen and Chinar Shah. Photography in India: From Archives to Contemporary Practice. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.
Gupta, Sunil, and Radhika Singh. Click! Contemporary Photography in India. New Delhi: Vadehra Gallery, 2008.
“Indian Artists Showcasing at Chobi Mela 2021.” Art Seeking. February 13, 2021. http://artseeking.com/indian-artists-showcasing-at-chobi-mela-2021/
“Intimacies, Kushal Ray.” Google Arts & Culture. Accessed 26 April 2021. https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/intimacies-kushal-ray/mwHNaurqRXThgg?hl=en
“Kushal Ray.” Chobi Mela. Accessed 26 April 2021. https://chobimela.org/participants/kushal-ray/
“Kushal Ray.” Exibart Street. Accessed 26 April 2021. https://www.exibartstreet.com/kushal-ray/
“Memories frozen in time.” Deccan Herald. June 26, 2010. https://www.deccanherald.com/content/77589/memories-frozen-time.html