Nirmala Karuppiah is a Malaysian fine art and documentary photographer and a friend whom I have known since late 90s. As one of the established fine art photographers in contemporary Malaysian photography she has spent the last two decades documenting various dance genres, mainly in the classical Indian discipline Odissi, Cantonese Opera, Northern Malay dance-drama Mak Yong and the healing rituals of Main Puteri from Kelantan, a northern state in the peninsula.
SANUBARI is her first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom. The Malay word Sanubari has various translations, but one, which aptly describes it in the context of this exhibition is the ‘inner-self’, of deepest feelings reaching fever-pitch and a ‘heartfire’ which laces each work seen in the show.
Nirmala’s intrinsic talent, merged with a deep love and respect for these artforms are evident in each of her work; and Sanubari is aimed at presenting to the masses, both a historic and personal views of these dance genres, seen through her camera lenses in a myriad of perspectives.
Working predominantly in black and white, Sanubari is the artist’s intense pursuit of conserving, documenting and disseminating these artforms which, although has been written about in many journals and publications, still need to be actively trailed.
M P Birla Millennium Art Gallery
Home of Indian Arts, 4A Castletown Road, West Kensington, London W14 9HE
11 June – 1 July, 2015
Tel: +44 207 381 3086/4608
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