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COLLECTIVE IDENTITY - Limited Edition of 10 Photograph

Sandeep Dhopate


Photography, Color on Paper

Size: 24 W x 36 H x 0.1 D in

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About The Artwork

Intent in creating this body of work? - “Elysium" is a series i produced to express our fixation with religion to be the foundation of our identity. Everything associated with religion is a myth. Maybe created by people to dictate righteous behaviour in a time when science had yet to unlock the many mysteries of the world. And so, humans resorted to believing in the existence of a divine power that needed to be impressed in order to maintain order in their lives. We used to have a collective identity like all other creatures and our individuality was built on how we managed to fend for ourselves and our loved ones. Duties were divided based on how we were created, and we adapted to the forces of nature like any other creature. Religion seems to have made us lose our way, to a point that we can kill to uphold a mythical belief of some sort of a promised heaven after death. The gods shall invite us there if we please them. And to please them we shall not hesitate to destroy all that we’ve got. Our planet which is the real promised land, the real elysian field, is being destroyed bit by bit in hope to selfishly gain something no one has seen or been to. A desire to build some supreme identity for ourselves has led some of us down a path were, instead of harmony, there seems to be more discord. Through this series I aim to invite viewers to think about the following idea - Wouldn't it be nice to just hit a reset button and start again with a new and improved us? Use what we know today to build a new identity that accommodates for how we feel today and accept a belief in the new realities that we experience today. Use of staged portraiture to convey the message? - I usually work based on a pre-conceived and pre-planned narrative. My process involves research about the topic and story boarding roughly 30 frames to express an idea in a clean, simple and visually stunning way. The intent is to create a visual strong enough to attract a viewer and then induce a notion of contemplation regarding the message. For Elysium, I visualised creating a “heaven on earth” type of unreal stage. This was more of a performance piece to me than a photography project. Staged portraiture allowed me to conceptualise the surreal elements. I had a specific styling in mind to elevate humans to group that despite being individually different in unique ways is still an inseparable part of each other. I had specific locations in mind and also specific lighting to create the effects. As such, staged portraits in a real environment was my most optimal option to convey the message. Is this how Elysium Looks? - The world that we are all a part of is the real elysian field. It sure will look like one when we stop the destruction. The myths are born from this world and they are all a reality of this world. There is no other world. The sooner we realise this the sooner we shall be able to care for it. The people have surreal looks, but the setting is realistic. how so? The idea was to create a collective identity of humans as a species, which although being unique individually is also part of a larger cohesive group. The colors are symbolic of the human emotions. The glitter represents greed, the jewellery symbolises a lust for power, a crown to make oneself supreme and better than the rest. What appears surreal is a sarcastic remark on society today which in essence is as real as these surreal looking people. We are not real. The attitude humans have towards each other and this planet is not real. It can’t be real because none of us were born to be this reckless and thoughtless. As a species we fed ourselves these selfish attributes by gorging on fellow humans. Hence the surreal looks. The setting is realistic because the world is what it is and shall remain the same long after we are gone. Its the only stage provided to us and is the real heaven.

Details & Dimensions

Photography:Color on Paper

Artist Produced Limited Edition of:10

Size:24 W x 36 H x 0.1 D in

Shipping & Returns

Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.

My work explores the intersections between religion, spirituality and sexuality often questioning our current moral value system that seems to have been established through a mass blind acceptance of a normalised truth claim . Using colours and symbolisms, inspired from historical texts, I further my narratives by developing staged scenes to create a tension between the real and the fictional. By blurring the lines between the real and the imagined I try to force the viewer to ponder over alternate interpretations of their beliefs and possibly invite them to understand the duality of moral values. That there is no black and white in morality and that right and wrong is but a mere perspective which can shift with wisdom acquired by knowledge.

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