Daa.era: A self-explorative journey to heal, accept and move forward

Through Daa.era, a series of superimposed black-and-white images being exhibited in Hyderabad, photographer and filmmaker Abeer Khan re-explores her journey

March 03, 2023 05:45 pm | Updated 07:19 pm IST

By Abeer Khan

By Abeer Khan | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Memories, metaphors and a path of self-discovery and acceptance through overlapping images sum up Daa.era, a showcase of black-and-white photographs by Abeer Khan in Hyderabad. With a play of light and shadow, viewers get to see superimposed images of a girl laughing amid trees, a hand with light reflected on the palm, a young man looking from a rear view mirror and a self-portrait with a circle inside the abdomen, symbolically representing it as a place for anxiety.

By Abeer Khan

By Abeer Khan | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“Daa.era comes from a personal space,” says Abeer over the phone from Mumbai. The photographer-filmmaker lost her parents within five months in 2022, at a time when she was directing an independent film How Do I show the Ocean Space That You Carried Inside You, featuring actor Bharati Kapadia.

Abeer recollects, “My father would say, ‘You have a large inner space; geography inside you. No one can take away this space from you’.” She had to explore this inner space after the demise of her parents, a journey of self-exploration that continues to surprise her. She says, “When you lose your parents, you also lose a metaphorical and physical home,” and adds, “The space, which was maybe the size of my shadow, feels enormous now; I feel that this daira (boundary) has grown into the periphery of a village, so I feel a lot inside. Then I began sheltering it and that ‘became a home’, leading to acceptance. I am trying to heal, but have not been fully healed yet.”

Inner journey

Abeer  Khan

Abeer Khan | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“My personal experience of the demise of my parents has led me to explore this concept in a profound and meaningful way,” she says, referring to the photographs. Abeer has used double exposure techniques in this photo essay to depict the abstract concept in a tangible and visual form. “The overlapping images create a sense of depth and complexity, similar to the intricate workings of our inner world. I explore the boundaries of the inner circle and the paradox of understanding complex selves. I build this space into reality.”

A post-graduate in anthropology, Abeer is a self-taught photographer and filmmaker. Her first camera was Nikon N72, her father’s gift, followed by a digicam. “My father used to say one should not upgrade unless one’s skills are also enhanced. That has kept my thirst alive,” she says. Her photos have been published in national and international publications, including National Geographic.

Abeer is currently collaborating with journalist Kunal Purohit for an investigative documentary on the effects of the lockdown on children.

Daa.era is on at Goethe Zentrum in Hyderabad till March 6

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