SHANGHAI DRY Exhibition / by Sarah Li

My first blog post! Something I have been meaning to write for a long time, but this seems an apt way to begin. Next week marks the launch of my exhibition NONE OF MY BUSINESS. It is a collection of 18 photographs to accompany the documentary SHANGHAI DRY. 

The exhibition, which is to take place in Goethe-Zentrum in Hyderabad, has been a long time in the making. Initially, I will admit it did not start off as an exhibition - my background is in filmmaking and it was at the end of 2015 I shot the footage for the documentary that would later become 'Shanghai Dry'. I then, amidst travelling to Nepal to work on other projects, travelling back to the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Spain and back to India again, edited and colour graded the film. The sound edit was done back in the UK by a great sound editor and friend of mine, Lee Grainge. So, after 18 months, the film was ready. Whilst it is now doing the rounds on the film festival circuit, there has been huge anticipation from the stars of the film (and also from myself) to screen it here in Hyderabad. I decided then to accompany the film with a photo exhibition. 

Using the camera I shot the film on, my Panasonic Lumix GH4, and my old Canon 5D mk1, I got to work. I had already accrued a large number of photographs from around India, but as any curator/director/producer/storyteller will know, you need a theme. The theme came to me to make it about businesses in Hyderabad, to see the variety of ways people make a living in this mosaic of a transforming city. When I speak of the city of Hyderabad, I also include it's twin city of Secunderabad (also, where Shanghai Dry Cleaners is located). It seemed to me, being from the West that people often have a misconception of India, but after spending only a little time here, I quickly came to realise that it is not all poverty and bullock carts, palaces and the Ganges, there is a rising middle class here. Technology companies with large offices in many cities, including Hyderabad, have created jobs for many, increasing the spending power and opportunities of millions of Indians. I wanted to support the documentary film - which shows the quirks and charms of a sixty year old family business - with a photo exhibition showing traditional forms of work alongside more modern, capitalist ventures that are beginning to engulf the city. 

The event opens next week, so whilst I cut, stick and paste photographs to canvases and check sound levels on projectors, I will leave you with the flier that Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad have designed for the exhibition. If you are in Hyderabad and able to make it next Wednesday, then great - please get in contact and let me know! If not, then come to Hyderabad - flights aren't too expensive and the monsoon is almost over.  

Will send updates soon.

Love, peace. Sarah x

Goethe Zenturm Flier.jpg