“Truth is the first casualty in a war”: Poulomi Basu on her acclaimed docu-fiction film, Centralia

In the first Nicer Tuesdays talk of 2021, the transmedia artist took us through the subtleties between fact and fiction, ideas she explored through photography.

Date
18 February 2021
Reading Time
1 minutes

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The first Nicer Tuesdays of 2021 kicked off with two creative powerhouses, bringing a very different but equally brilliant take on what creative responses to crisis means to them respectively. The first of our two speakers was transmedia artist, photographer and activist, Poulomi Basu. Dialling in from Goa, where she’s recently travelled to from the UK, Poulomi has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2021 Deutsche Börse Foundation Photography Prize for her acclaimed docu-fiction Centralia, which she discussed at January’s event.

In a unique first for our Nicer Tuesdays audience, Poulomi introduced the work with a performance-like film, taking the audience into the forests of central India where Centralia is set. It centres on an underreported conflict between the indigenous people of the region and the state, who are interested in the land for its mineral-rich resources. As the artist took us through the unfolding narrative, one where “everybody seems to lose”, Poulomi explains how the work presents different versions of the truth. The nuanced documentation of the conflict questions how images are understood and Poulomi draws out the grey areas between fact and fiction. In this highly fascinating and thoughtful talk, the photographer also explained why her work is different from photojournalism and underlined how stories are always told in a version of events that is true to the storyteller.

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Further Info

Nicer Tuesdays is our monthly event of creative talks. You can find out more here.

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