Pritam Bhatty

This series of work is based on my great-grandfather’s diary dating back to 1897. It records their life in the then remote district of Pithoragarh in north India. Over a hundred years old the pages are yellow and brittle, the photographs, torn and damaged are faded sepia.

The diary is extremely rich visually by itself. I wanted to use this in my work but to use it and to play around with it as random found images was not possible. The family connections were too strong. This posed both a problem and a challenge. It was easy to fall into a nostalgic trap and stay focused on the quaint and the charming.

I began to explore the idea of family and memory; of diaries and photo albums as receptacles of memories and family history. I realised it is close to impossible to share and experience the memories captured in them in the same way as the creator intended and therefore my looking at them was entirely subjective. My gaze was in a sense giving them a new life and significance. I was layering them with my own perception and memory of family history and events in time.

Other Paintings by the Artist