Odd Artist of the Month: Gulshan Khan

Portrait of Gulshan Khan by Amr Alfiky. 09 January 2020. New York City

South African photographer Gulshan Khan’s work focuses on stories related to human rights, social justice, identity, culture and the dignity of people; themes which continue to direct her visual reflections of the human condition and the world around her.

Khan began her career as a stringer for Agence France Presse (AFP) where she was the first African woman to be regularly hired by the agency in 2017, and has since been assigned by various international publications and NGOs on stories covering themes which range from access to water and sanitation, food security and education to healthcare and gender-based violence, anti-poaching to plastic pollution and climate change.

Exhibited around the world Khan has had the honour of speaking at a host of institutions and events including the World Press Photo Festival 2019 and the National Geographic Storytellers Summit 2020. She sometimes lectures at her alumnus, the Market Photo Workshop.

Her long-term project, ‘The things we carry with us, an extract of which was acquired by the Iziko South African National Gallery and Museum and now forms part the national archive, is a personal documentation about her community of contemporary Muslims in South Africa. To remedy the historical lack of visual representation that such communities suffered, due to the dislocation and erasure cause by colonization and apartheid in Africa, it aims to be something that generations to come can look upon as a source of history, memory and resonance. On this, Khan writes: 

“It is a journey to present the viewpoint of a people, especially the women, whose experiences and presences were, and are still, not always visible, by portraying the prayer, the seeking, and the hope, which is profound and shared by all. It is a community, like many, that has experienced apartheid and the legacy of colonialism, with limited visual documentation of those who were not part of the dominant race, culture or narrative, and so we did not see ourselves in the histories that we were taught. With this work, I hope to create something that generations to come can look upon as a source of history, memory and resonance.”

To read more: http://www.gulshankhan.com/the-things-we-carry-with-us

In her recent project for the World Press Photo, Joop Swart Masterclass 2020, Khan looks at themes of power of memory in the archive, an endeavour to depart from the ‘production’ line of fast produced images, to focus on our history, understand the present and to challenge the future. 

Khan is a National Geographic Explorer. She was the recipient of the 2020 HIPA Emerging Photographer award, was selected as one of the “100 Heroines” in 2019, is the first female South African Canon EMEA Ambassador.

For more information: 

Website – www.gulshankhan.com
Email – gulshan.khan.za@gmail.com
IG – www.instagram.com/gulshanii
Twitter – www.twitter.com/let_zephyrspin