FOCUS Festival

FOCUS Photography Festival, Mumbai

FOCUS Photography Festival is back in Mumbai this month presenting an ambitious 14-day programme.

Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, FOCUS Photography Festival, Mumbai launched in 2013 as the city’s first photography festival.

The last two editions have seen it work with 60 partners, host 58 exhibitions and attract more than 80,000 visitors.

This year’s festival runs until March 23 with more than 25 exhibitions and 50 events across the city.

It includes major travelling photography exhibitions, shown in India for the first time, and collaborations with international photography festivals.

Spectrum Photographic is a Print Partner for the festival, printing Olivia Arthurs’ Intimation and all the images for Before Now, Then: Picturing Loss in Contemporary Japanese Photography.

“It is hugely exciting to be part of this festival which celebrates the democratic nature of photography,” said Spectrum director Hazel Watts.

Across Mumbai

Alongside exhibitions in Mumbai’s leading galleries and museums the festival brings photography outside traditional spaces.

The aim is to reach bigger and more diverse audiences, and bring photography into an eclectic range of venues – from stores and cafes to the streets of the Mumbai.

An extensive series of free outreach events complement the existing programming, including talks, workshops, mentor sessions and walk-throughs.

There are also opportunities for thoughtful dialogue and exchange, professional development for young photographers and an education platform for children.


FOCUS is a celebration of the democratic nature of photography. Its core aim is to make the art form accessible to everyone across the city.

All exhibitions and events are free and open to all, inviting a broad cross section of society to engage with art.

This year’s festival theme is Memory, investigating the bond photography and memory have always shared and the need to question this relationship.

Autobiography as Memory at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum is the result of a worldwide call for photographers to submit work on the theme. It received more than 200 entries from 39 countries.

The final exhibition, curated by art historian and writer Prajna Desai, features works by 18 finalists from around the world.


International highlights include Masterji, Maganbhai Patel – the Indian premiere of a renowned touring exhibition first shown in Coventry in 2016.

The exhibition depicts a young man who left Bombay to move to Coventry in 1951.

Feeling unfulfilled with his mundane day-job, Masterji picked up his camera and started to shoot the new community.

Now aged 94, Masterji’s life’s work has been painstakingly restored and curated and is shown at Akara Art.

Also on display for the first time in India are works by William Gedney (1932 – 1989) as part of the exhibition Gedney in India, at Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation.

As one of the key figures of American black and white street photography the exhibition highlights his work during two visits to India – as a Fulbright scholar from 1969 to 1971 and on his return ten years later.

Photographs by two Japanese artists, Yuki Iwanami and Kota Kishi, will also be on view in India for the first time, presented in collaboration with Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Before Now, Then: Picturing Loss in Contemporary Japanese Photography.

More information

FOCUS is led by directors Elise Foster Vander Elst and Matthieu Foss with Bloomberg Philanthropies as the founding sponsor.

For a full list of exhibitions and the event programme visit the website or Facebook page.

Copy editing by Sheena Campbell