This website has been set up by Maghanbhai (Masterji’s) Patel’s daughter Tarla Patel with the help of family and friends, will grow to share stories and photographs of the people who had their photographs taken by Masterji. This website will also provide information on what I have learnt and still learning on archiving and working with outside organisations.
Masterji’s story came to light, when I was looking for help with archiving his work, I met Jason Tilley who had exhibited his work at the Herbert Art Gallery, who had just launched a local photography archive organisation called PAM and my father’s photography became one of their first and biggest projects. I also met separately with experts such as the late Pete James archivist and curator of photography, to Vanley Burke and Andrew Jackson both renowned photographers for advice.
My father was part of a group exhibition in the Imagine Hillfield’s exhibition in autumn 2015 with photographer’s John Blakemore, Adam Sandler and Jason Tilley at Fargo village, Coventry, UK.
I continued to work with PAM from 2015 to late 2017 and during this time Coventry had put itself forward to become UK City of Culture and as part of the bid, Masterji’s photography and his story had captured the attention of UK and overseas media with his first exhibition in 2016.
Masterji’s his first solo exhibition launched as part of the bid was age at the of 94. ‘Masterji and Coventry’ was in November 2016 and to see my dad tell his story and become invigorated was wonderful. His story was picked up by the Coventry Telegraph to the Guardian and worldwide newspapers and magazines. The BBC interviewed him and once his story aired on BBC one and Worldwide we received telephone calls from India to friends that had heard the story in Canada. Masterji’s story of a young photographer forging a new life in a new country documented his fellow migrant’s stories without intention captured the candidness, humour, hardship as well as a burning hope of these new citizens of Coventry, that can be said to resonate continuously with the constant movement of people here and all over the world.
The photographs have been exhibited at the Mumbai Focus Festival in March 2017 to Doncaster’s South Bank festival to Lightfields Festival in New York, Brooklyn.
Exhibitions coming soon: October 2018
A small selection of work will be part of the Another England: Human Stories Exhibition
10 Oct – 11 Nov 18
NOW Gallery presents Another England: Human Stories – a photographic exhibition surveying historical and contemporary narratives in Black and Asian Heritage in England, in partnership with Historic England. This third iteration of Human Stories will present photographs and research generated by Historic England’s online project Another England: Mapping 100 Years of Black and Asian History. In addition, newly commissioned works will interrogate concepts of multiculturalism, intersectionality and a sense of place through the lens of emerging, contemporary photographers and arts collectives and new collectors.