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Pure Presence 2013 to 2019

Since looking, contemplating and recording many aspects of contemporary life amongst the population of native Americans is particularly nothing new, perhaps it would be of some value to consider the content of these photographs from an alternative point of view. The very essence of each photograph is a testimony to the absolute, pure and complete presence of the photographer in front of his chosen subjects.

A symbiotic exchange and presence which is acknowledged and returned by the gaze of his chosen subjects, in their attempt to articulate and restate their individual and collective expression of a multi fasceted cultural heritage and complex legacies.

Perhaps the photographer's interest in going into the distance, as far as placing himself in front of each of his chosen subjects, speaks of high degree of empathy and identification with the current contemporary challenges in various discourses regarding identity politics, cultural 

displacement and fragmentation of  cultural heritage.

The presence and characteristics of clothing, accessories and grooming of each individual depicted by Kamal embodies a high degree of insistence, performance and that of cultural resistance. The above visual elements act as tools for animating and re-constructing their endangered heritage in the context of colonial history and rapid globalization.The slightly compromised and contrived 

traditional clothing and make-ups, which also embody the spirit and consequences of an urban and consumerist society in which these men and women live, raise the question of "cultural authenticity" in the age of rapid change. The colors and types of fabrics used to remake the traditional clothing's are drawn and adapted from mass produced fabrics available in the local markets. It seems clear that in these photographs history and heritage have turned into semi-theatrical gestures.

We the viewers and Kamal the photographer by positioning ourselves in front of these human subjects, individually and collectively assist and partake in the plight of these people in their act of cultural expression and resistance. Perhaps the content of each one of these photographs will turn into a reflective surface for allowing us to contemplate and re evaluet the urgent preservation and continuity of our own varied and colorful cultural heritages too!


Houshang Delavar

Winter 2016



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