Soumya Sankar Bose. From the series ‘A Discreet Exit Through Darkness’, 2020–ongoing. Courtesy the artist and Experimenter, Kolkata & Mumbai

Date:  Saturday, 18 May 2024
Time:  16:00-17:30
Location:  Delfina Foundation
Tickets:  Booking essential
Access information:  Please refer to this page

Immerse yourself in the work and thinking of artist Soumya Sankar Bose – exploring the elusiveness of the past; enmeshing fragmented memories, dreams, and folktales to create alternative archives for the future. 

Join us to hear artist Soumya Sankar Bose in conversation with Tate Curator of International Art Valentine Umansky, and Delfina Foundation Curator Erin Li.

The conversation will delve into the work presented in Bose’s newly-opened exhibition at Delfina Foundation, Braiding dusk and dawn. The show explores the lingering traces of an unspeakable incident in his family’s history through two films – one a 360° VR work and the other a three-channel presentation – alongside photographs that seek to offer another way into the minds of those involved.

This discussion will elaborate on the artist’s motivation for taking this intimate story as his focus, in addition to the surrounding context of India in the 60s and 70s, his four-year research and production process, as well as the formats he chose to use. The conversation will also be a chance to further explore some of the wider and recurrent themes of Bose’s practice: of how the past is remembered and reimagined, and how we can seek to tell the individual experience of it.

If you wish to view the exhibition in advance of the talk, it will be open from midday and will remain open until 18:00. Please note the runtimes of the two films are 51 and 59 minutes. If you wish to view the VR work, you may want to consider reserving a headset, details on the exhibition page.


Soumya Sankar Bose (b. 1990, Midnapore, India) is an artist based in Kolkata, India. He reconstructs archival materials and oral history into photography, films, alternative archives, and artist books. Bose interweaves long-term research and engagement with local communities to accentuates the experiences of the marginalised-yet-resilient of his home post-Partition Bengal. Blending fiction and reality, Bose’s work opens up the realms of memory, desire, vulnerability, and identity. Soumya was awarded Magnum Foundation’s Social Justice Fellowship for Full Moon on a Dark Night in 2017, was Hello! India’s Emerging Artist of the Year in 2023, and received the Louis Roederer Discovery Public Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles for A Discreet Exit Through Darkness in 2023. Bose also received The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (Amol Vadehra Art Grant), The Agroecology Fund, Murthy Nayak Foundation Photobook Grant, Henry Luce Foundation grant and India Foundation for the Arts’ grant. Where the Birds Never Sing was selected as PhMuseum’s Best Photobooks of 2020 and shortlisted for the Paris Photo – Aperture Foundation First Photobook Award as well as the Lucie Photo Book Prize 2021. His works are in the permanent collections of The Royal Ontario Museum, The Ishara Art Foundation, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Les Rencontres d’Arles, Duncan Aviation, and many others. Bose’s work has been reviewed by The New York Times, Art Review Asia, NPR, Granta, BBC, The Caravan, and Indian Express among others. He has also worked on photography commissions for Le Monde, HSBC Bank, Bloomberg Businessweek, Financial Times, The Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and Acumen etc.

Valentine Umansky has worked for various institutions dedicated to visual arts and is currently part of the curatorial team at Tate Modern. Between 2015 and 2020, she held positions in the US at the International Center of Photography and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. In France, she collaborated with the Rencontres d’Arles festival, and published Duane Michals, Storyteller (Filigranes). She has written for a wide range of art magazines, including Aperture and FOAM. Her most recent exhibitions and projects include displays of Belkis Ayón, Tourmaline, Cinthia Marcelle, Buhlebezwe Siwani, Dineo Seshee Bopape and Rosa Barba at Tate, the organisation of the 2023 Villa Medici Film Festival in Rome, the curation of solo exhibitions of Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum and Saya Woolfalk, and of Confinement. Politics of Space and Bodies at the CAC Cincinnati. She also co-curated the 2018 LagosPhoto Festival, which led to a large survey of modern and contemporary Nigerian art, Layers, organised with Iheanyi Onwuegbucha, and exhibited in France (2019-2020) (2023-2024) and has contributed to various international art publications and artist catalogues. 

With artist Soumya Sankar Bose

Erin Li is Delfina Foundation’s Curator, leading on delivery of residencies, exhibitions, and public programming. Her recent curatorial practice ferments everyday processes, relations and emotions into collaborative, multidisciplinary art projects. Prior to joining the Delfina Foundation team in April 2023, Erin was Asymmetry Curatorial Fellow at Whitechapel Gallery and a resident at Delfina Foundation (June-December 2022). Her research into street dance and fermentation respectively manifested in Polyphonic Bodies, an evening at Whitechapel Gallery of performances declaring the fluidity of identities, and Polyphonic Bodies II, a communal tasting of an edible landscape at Asymmetry Art Foundation co-curated with her Delfina Foundation co-resident L. Sasha Gora. Erin was also on the curatorial team of three exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery: Action, Gesture, Performance: Feminism, the Body and Abstraction (2023); Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940–70 (2023); and Out of the Margins: Performance in London’s Institutions 1990s – 2010s (2022). Before relocating to London, Erin was Associate Curator at Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong, where she realised numerous contemporary art exhibitions, residency programmes and art events, including curating Sipping Dreams (2023), emo gym (2022), and co-curating trust & confusion: Tino Sehgal (2021) and The Unsung (2021). She also worked as Art Manager at Duddell’s (Hong Kong and London) and Project Researcher and Development Coordinator at Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong). Erin is a member of AICA (The International Association of Art Critics). Her published articles have appeared in Artforum and ArtReview.