MICHAEL DAVID BOSWORTH

 


Title: Group Portrait, painted in 2008 in Delhi

In India, I had a big studio and it was easy and cheap to have canvases made to order. So I worked in large format.

I was looking at old photographs taken in India during the first wave of affordable commercial photography.

Studio portraits always fascinate me - the way the subjects try to demonstrate their place in society through a pose, a backdrop, stage props.

To make this picture I started with an existing group portrait - a wealthy, aristocratic Indian and his entourage. On a computer I infiltrated this image with a number of other figures from Indian life and history.

I wanted to ask the questions “What constitutes a group? Who rightfully belongs inside or outside a perceived group?”

The figures in the picture demonstrate the diversity of cultures in India - diverse in economic status, caste, religion and politics.

The man in white uniform is the British Lord Mountbatten, last Viceroy of India before the 1947 Act of Independence. Does he have the right to belong in this group? He loved India, as he experienced  it. Maybe that’s enough.

And then there’s me. Drawn in, barely there, but asking, nevertheless, to be part of the group. Sometimes I think that has been the mantra of my life.