Outskirts of Husainiwala near Firozpur City searching for the River Satluj features a red, white and blue express train racing through the landscape. In the foreground we catch a glimpse of the River Satluj, one of the five Punjabi rivers. The vertical form of the sprawling tree bisects the horizontal train line. This photograph conveys agriculture and industry in one shot - Punjab produces two-thirds of India's annual grain and it is connected to the Indian railway, the longest rail network in the world.
This photograph is from Kandhola's series Flatland: A Landscape of Punjab (2003-2006). Intended to counteract stereotypical depictions of Punjab as a dusty, bustling urban area, he composed landscapes referencing Western artists such as Constable and Monet. Flatland is the second in a photographic trilogy of works related to family, memory and the geographical landscape of Kandhola's cultural heritage, specifically his experience of life in Britain as a second generation Punjabi. He has said:
My visual composition has inevitably been influenced by English landscapes and gardens. The British suburban garden is a part of British identity. And for many Punjabis who live in England, cultivation of the land - its nurturing and its produce - is both a lasting memory and an association with Punjab, as it was for my father.
Born and raised in Birmingham, Max Kandhola is a fine art photographer who has exhibited his work widely. He is also Senior Lecturer in Photographic Studies at Nottingham Trent University. Flatland was first shown at the Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham in 2007 to accompany the publication of his monograph; other solo exhibitions have been held in London, Glasgow, Bratislava, New York and Delhi.
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