Raja Deen Dayal: Artist-Photographer in 19th-Century India

Dr Deepali Dewan by Brian Boyle

Dr Deepali Dewan
by Brian Boyle

NEXT TORONTO MEETING: Wed. September 18, 2013.
DR. DEEPALI DEWAN – Senior Curator, ROM, Dept of World Cultures. 

For our first meeting of the fall session, we welcome Dr Deepali Dewan. She currently has an exhibition in the ROM on the subject of tonight’s talk, her latest book, “Raja Deen Dayal: Artist-Photographer in Nineteenth-Century India “.  The book was published in May of 2013.

The public is welcome. Go to our Programs page for times and directions.

In this talk, Dr. Deepali Dewan describes her decade-long research project (with Dr. Deborah Hutton of The College of New Jersey) pursuing one of the most well-known but little-understood photographers from 19th-century India, in numerous archives and across multiple continents. The photographer, Raja Deen Dayal (1844-1905), was born in Northern India and worked as a Surveyor for the Colonial Administration. Self-taught as a photographer, he eventually left his government job to open three successful commercial photography studios and was appointed the official photographer to one of the wealthiest rulers of the Princely States, the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Dayal’s story is one about the varied nature of India at a time of great economic and cultural change. It is also about the development and evolution of photography in a place that both intersected with but was also separate from the European metropole. This research project reveals how much is still left to uncover about photographic history in archives around the world.

Deepali Dewan is co-curator of “Between Princely India and the British Raj: The Photography of Raja Deen Dayal,” an exhibit featuring more than 100 original artifacts on view at the ROM until January 12, 2014. It is inspired by the book “Raja Deen Dayal: Artist-Photographer in 19th-Century India”, by Deepali Dewan and Deborah Hutton (Mapin Press, and the Alkazi Collection of Photography, 2013), available in the ROM shop or at www.mapinpub.in.

Dr Dewan is also a professor at U of T and a member of the “Toronto Photography Seminar” group.


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