Ferreira House

An Attic Full of Film

An American Family in Khotachiwadi

Featuring works by Paul

Curated by Alisha Sett

Paul took photographs all the time. Especially of his four children – as they played, as they slept, as they wandered the streets. But for 50 years, many of these images remained unseen by anyone, including the photographer. Each roll of exposed film was wrapped in foil, labeled and then bundled into a package with several other rolls. When Paul’s family decided to let go of their childhood home, they discovered an untouched archive in the attic – more than 1200 rolls of film.

In 2016, the Rescued Film Project garnered support to begin developing and scanning this hidden collection. This exhibition is the first to be exhibiting Paul’s intimate photographs in print.
Multiple fractures and acts of displacement – across time, space, and memory – occur here: from East Chicago, where Paul lived (and worked in the steel mills) in the 1950s and 1960s, to an East Indian hub in Girgaum; from the hands of fate, that seemed to have left this collection to anonymity, to the hands of the archivist that has retrieved them so carefully; and finally from the eyes of one family, or one’s loved ones, to a foreign audience many miles and decades away. The journey is not simply from there to here, but ricochets between Mumbai and Chicago, raising ghosts and memories in the old Ferreira House in Khotachiwadi, with its own long family history.

The central question remains: what is it that we see and know from looking at family photographs, photos of other families and our own? What happens when one set of images leave their original context behind (in this case, the family album) and enter a new temporality? The viewer is invited to grapple and engage with these (or other) questions, to come and write in the space, or simply to have a conversation about their own family photos.

The curator will be in residence at Ferreira House from 2pm – 5pm every day until Wednesday, March 22 for these open sessions.

Presented FOCUS Photography Festival.
Images in the exhibition are from the archive of the Rescued Film Project.
Presented in collaboration with the Khotachiwadi Welfare and Heritage Trust.

47 G, Khotachiwadi, Girgaum, Mumbai
Open daily, 11am to 7pm