Annu Palakunnathu Matthew

b. 1964, India

Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s photographic work addresses the political, social, transformative issues stemming from her own experience of living between three cultures. These cultural “overlays” and shifts use a framework of visual juxtaposition and the construction of parallel realities, identities and histories.

From her early work, Memories of India, to her most recent video project, Re-Generations, Matthew explores the connection between past and present. Memories of India consists of jewel-like images which are both nostalgic yet familiar. Shot with a plastic Holga camera, the series is an ongoing tribute to memories of her childhood in India. In Re-Generations, Matthew uses photos taken from the family albums of friends, relatives, and acquaintances. The video melding of these images from past to present fuse the faces of the past with the present—movingly revealing the underlying connection between the two.

Matthew’s work has been exhibited internationally, most notably at The RISD Museum, Providence; Newark Art Museum; 2009 Guangzhou Biennial of Photography, China; 2006 Noorderlicht Photofestival, Netherlands; and the 2005 Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal Photo Biennale in Canada.

In 2007, Matthew was the first of three artists to be awarded the MacColl Johnson Fellowship in Visual Arts. She has also received the John Gutmann Fellowship, the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts Fellowship, and the American Institute of Indian Studies Creative Arts Fellowship. She was an artist-in-residence at the Yaddo and MacDowell Colonies. Her work can be found in the collections of the George Eastman House, Fogg Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Center for Creative Photography; Daimler Art Collection; and the RISD Museum among others. Her work has been featured in BLINK(Phaidon) and Self-Portraits (Susan Bright.)

Annu Palakunnathu Matthew is Professor of Art (Photography) at the University of Rhode Island.