Shahid Datawala’s photos see the creative in the mundane
It looks like a photograph of a woman dressed in poufy purple gown and a hat. She is tilted oddly and has no face. Some part of her torso is missing too. Take a closer look. Could she be sinking into quicksand, suffocating underneath?
The image that makes you uncomfortable, even restless, is actually a piece of plastic debris that washed up along the Konkan coast. It’s part of Half Naked Nude, a series by Mumbai photographer Shahid Datawala, conceived while on a walk by the sea. “So many of people’s belongings were washed away and had become permanent installations,” says Datawala. “They are all different formations, which looks like a contemporary artist’s work.”
Objects and forms also inspired Datawala’s other project Unstill Life, and combines his design and photography skills. This one began at his home, which the photographer calls a mini museum, given the amount of antiques and objects it houses. Datawala intuitively places one object along with another in different combinations to make something completely different.
In Cargear, one of his works, it seems that a gear is menacingly penetrating a car. Pinsqueezer features a lemon covered in pins, in a lemon squeezer.
Remains of the Day, a show at Tarq, showcases both his series, giving viewers a dose of dark humour, which creates a certain kind of turmoil. “These are all about unsettling. Making you squirm and feel a bit shaky,” says Datawala.