Two Lives, Two Realities

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Time and space, and inner and outer worlds, come together in Rahab Allana’s diptychs.

A girl quietly stares at carvings in Angkor Thom, juxtaposing her own thoughts on the silent walls; in another frame, a solitary corridor plays host to light and shadows while a pair of shoes looks on from one corner of the room—these and many more images form part of Rahaab Allana’s latest exhibition, Worlds of Difference. On display at Gallery Romain Rolland at Alliance Française de Delhi until 16 April 2010, the exhibition presents photographs that have been shot by Rahaab over a span of eight years.

Shot across vast and diverse landscapes, ranging from Lahore to Lucknow, from Ajanta to Angkor Vat and beyond, the photographs reflect on how movement through time and space can be co-related with an inner quest or journey. “People and spaces have an effect on us that is sometimes very latent, and at others, manifest or overwhelming. The girl staring at the carvings, to my mind, has been transported while the corridor allows a perspective in which absence has a presence. Both address sentiments that convey a kind of self-conscious loss. In that rupture, I can still sense a particular identity and reconciliation with the self,” says Rahaab.

Each image is redolent with nostalgia and history, while being melancholic and beautiful at the same time. They have a quiet energy that speaks through its silence, be it a lone monk peering at a sprawl of teeming development at Leh or a man peacefully enveloped in a blaze of ethereal light in Deeg. Each photograph is not just a visual; it is a story that inspires you to stop and think. Exhibited in the form of diptychs, each image depicts dual realities of life. “Through experiences while shooting, and in general as well, I believe that we gauge and weigh two lives at any given time. Space and time meld into the past, a world made of assorted motifs and signs. This layering of the present, the ability to fashion it to the demands of our awareness, is what creates this exhibition in compositions of mainly two, dual realities,” elaborates Rahaab.