“I am not a Muslim but the ceaselessly deepening chasm between Muslims and non-Muslims concerns me immensely. As a teenager, I spent countless afternoons playing cricket in the courtyard of a large Mosque in India. Even today, some of my closest friends are Muslims. And alongside the many Muslims in America and Europe, I share a common socio-political history and the broader experience of being an immigrant. Their struggles with identity or belongingness are very much like my own.”
– Bharat Choudhary.
Bharat Choudhary a teacher, and an independent photographer based in London, has documented the lives of people in such a magnificent way, that viewers are bound to take a step back and wonder about the details of those featured in his photos. Bharat grew up in Nigeria and later moved to India where he studied at the Indian Institute of Forestry Management.
He worked with CARE International in India for five years before moving to photography. He was mentored by Raghu Rai (Magnum Photos) and Nitin Rai at the Sri Aurobindo Center for Arts in New Delhi. He further studied at the University of Missouri, USA, from where he graduated with a MA in Journalism. Since 2011, he has been documenting issues of Islamophobia and the racialization of Muslim communities in America, England, and France.
His work – The Silence of ‘Others’, revolves around numerous issues faced by Muslims across the globe.
“This project, ‘The Silence of Others’, aims to depict the impact of such ill-informed opinions on young Muslims. It illustrates how various socio-political discourses are constructing young Muslim minds and how their external world is influencing their internal sense of self.” says Choudhary.
This work, from over a decade (2008-2018), portrays activities, behaviors, emotions, personal spaces, and external interactions of young Muslims in America, England, and France. These photographs attempt to highlight subjective experiences and present insights into Muslim youth’s motivations and actions. Simultaneously, this work also focusses on the wider socio-political and legal hostility that Islamophobia has legitimized, like the systematic violations of rights of Muslims and the criminalization of any action taken to counter those violations. It investigates how wide-ranging security interventions against Muslims have encroached upon their constitutionally protected space for social and political dissent, and their right to freely exercise their religion. It aims to ask what reasons there are for thinking that Islamic beliefs produce or perpetuate terrorism, and why the acceptance of Muslims as fellow American, English or French citizens should be conditioned on distancing themselves from any particular set of political, religious, cultural and ideological beliefs.
All photos by Bharat Choudhary.
Curated by Shrey Sethi.