Anup Matthew Thomas, Winning Artist, Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014
Nurses, C-print, Diasec, 48 photographs, 60 x 80 cm each
Nurses is a group of portraits capturing women of Keralan origin employed in hospitals and care facilities around the world
Anup Mathew Thomas works primarily with the photograph and is interested in the slippages between documentary and artistic practice, frequently deploying carefully staged portraiture. Nurses are the single largest group of professional female migrants from Kerala, where the economy is largely dependent on foreign remittances.
Through networks of friendship and filiation, Thomas located women from the nursing profession willing to be included in this typological project. Each subject was asked to pose in her professional uniform in an outdoor setting close to her place of work. Marking the dislocation from Kerala, the isolated figure is placed centrally within the adoptive habitat, which ranges from forests in Europe and hills in North America to deserts in the Middle East. Displayed in a grid, the images merge to form a patchwork background from which the individuals emerge, often smiling, confidently looking directly at the camera.
Transplanted onto new locations, they come together as a visual record of the possible variations within contemporary migratory patterns. The photographs are accompanied by an index, a publication which provides individual biographical details: names, professional background and current location.
Anup Mathew Thomas is a visual artist living and working in Bangalore. Predominantly using photography as a medium, his work often engages ostensibly local narratives. His recent participation in group exhibitions include Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kochi; The Matter Within, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Generation in Transition, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; The Self and other, La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona; and Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie, Arnolfini, Bristol. Solo exhibitions include shows at Gasworks gallery, London and Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo. Anup Mathew Thomas is represented by GALLERYSKE, Bangalore.