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Neither expected the encounter to blossom into a relationship.
“I never thought our meeting would have a future,” Singh remembers, “considering our backgrounds (both social and economic), nationalities, the illegalities of our desires and love, and the world we were occupying.” Born in India in 1978, Singh is also an activist whose experiences have deeply impacted the artistic themes of his work.
It also established a key characteristic of much of Gupta’s work for the next five decades: capturing the LGBTQ community in their public spaces.
Fotofest bills the Biennial as “one of the largest exhibitions of contemporary photography by artists of Indian origin to be presented in the United States.” Gupta tells Out Smart that this will be the largest exhibition he has ever curated, and that he has been working on it for just over a year.
“It’s been a lifelong passion to make India more accessible and to bring it out in the world—especially in my field of photography,” Gupta says.
“In the early years, India was [perceived by Westerners as] a very mysterious place.
From 1998 to 2012, he facilitated groups for men who have sex with men, and he also served as an educator and program manager for India’s national AIDS prevention project.
“Being part of the local community gives my [work a relevance] that is far beyond that of art and academic discourse,” Singh says.