Sunil Gupta: The New Pre-Raphaelites

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24 September 2021
19 January 2022

To accompany its major new exhibition of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s portraits, the Holburne Museum is proud to announce a display of photographs by Sunil Gupta that explore the legacy of the Pre-Raphaelites and their influence on contemporary art.

In 2008, London-based artist and photographer Sunil Gupta was commissioned by Autograph gallery in London, to produce a body of work connected to LGBTQI+ rights in India. The resulting series of ten photographs referenced the struggle against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Instituted during British rule in the 1860s, it criminalised gay sex between consenting adults and remained in place until it was finally repealed by the Supreme Court of India in September 2018.

Known as the Anti-Sodomy Law, Section 377 facilitated the arbitrary arrest and exploitation of LGBTQI+ Indians. In turn, this led to a closeted culture where alternate sexuality was pushed underground and made researching and treating serious medical problems such as STDs and HIV/AIDS extremely difficult.

Gupta’s photographs allude to works by members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, an artistic movement founded in 1848, only a few years before Section 377 was introduced.