As a scholar, curator and filmmaker, Sabeena Gadihoke’s work has focussed on cinema, popular culture and the history of Indian photography. She has directed and produced numerous educational films for the University Grants Commission, as well as been a cinematographer for documentaries such as Tales of the Night Fairies (2002) by Shohini Ghosh.
Gadihoke studied history at the University of Delhi, before enrolling in a master’s program at the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC), Jamia Millia Islamia. In 1985, along with five of her coursemates, she co-founded Mediastorm, India’s first all-female independent video collective. She completed her PhD from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, after which she attended Syracuse University, New York, USA as a Fullbright Scholar from 1995–96. In 1997, she received the Arts Research and Documentation grant from the India Foundation for the Arts to further her work mapping the previously undocumented history of women photographers in India.
In 1998, Gadihoke completed her documentary film Three Women and a Camera, a feminist history of the lives of three Indian female photographers, Homai Vyarawalla, Sheba Chachchi and Dayanita Singh. This marked the beginning of her long association with Vyarawalla, which culminated in her book India in Focus: Camera Chronicles of Homai Vyarawalla (2006), a landmark publication on the life and work of India’s first female photojournalist. Along with writer Aveek Sen, she has also co-authored a book on the works of photographer Nony Singh, titled Nony Singh: The Archivist (2013).
Gadihoke has also curated several exhibitions, including Light Works (2017), a retrospective of the works of Jitendra Arya held at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai and Bengaluru; Still/Moving:The Folds Within Cinema and Photography, a program of non-fiction films curated as part of the Serendipity Arts Festival, 2018; a retrospective of photographer Kulwant Roy’s works at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in 2008; and a retrospective on Homai Vyarawalla at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi from 2010–11. She has received several awards for Three Women and a Camera, including at Film South Asia, Kathmandu (1999) and the Mumbai International Film Festival (2000). She has been the recipient of grants from organisations such as the Charles Wallace Trust, Pro Helvetica, the Swiss Arts Council and the Majlis Foundation. She is also a part of the advisory board of the Trans-Asia Photography Review and Pondicherry University among others.
Gadihoke lives and works in New Delhi, where she is professor of video and TV production at the MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, a position she has held since 1990.
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