At the conclusion of the portfolio reviews, each reviewer is asked to note three outstanding projects. Their selections are then tallied to determine that year’s PhotoNOLA Review Prize Winners. Vikesh Kapoor was awarded the 2019 PhotoNOLA Review Prize, which includes a solo exhibition during the PhotoNOLA Festival, a cash award of $1000, one year of complimentary mentoring and strategic marketing consultations with Mary Virginia Swanson, and a $2000 credit with Edition One Books to create his own publication. Second Place winner was Priya Kambli and Third Place winner Allison Grant. Each artist will be featured on Lenscratch.
“Vikesh Kapoor’s ‘See You at Home’ is a poignant view of an urgent social and political subject told through the lens of the personal and familial. The title is evocative, suggesting a temporary parting and anticipation of sorts; a reunion that could be hours or years away – an indefinite period of time.
I was struck by the way in which Vikesh articulated his parents’ relationship with one another and the home they built together through his own photographs, as well as those he chose from the family album. When the idea of what ‘home’ means and to whom is so fraught, the series suggested to me a couple finding ‘home’ in one another.” – Emma Lewis, Tate Modern
“Priya’s work touches on deeply personal issues, while at the same time using national and universal elements in her work to enrich her narrative: the use of family pictures and of kitchen spices. While doing so, she connects with her deeper sense of identity and with us all humans looking for a sense of belonging.” – Laura Beltrán Villamizar, NPR / Native Agency
“Allison Grant gives good weight to the George Krause dictum that the finest photographers can find great imagery close to home and even in their own backyards. As she and her daughters explore their home grounds and the immediate neighborhood, Grant reveals deep Southern landscapes that are both mysteriously familiar and elegantly unsettling. It is fascinating to share in her children’s fresh discovery of an environment that seems often haunted by dark designs but which remains still capable of uncloaking much unreserved beauty. These photographs invite us always to step in and be not afraid to look all around.” – Roy Flukinger, Curator Emeritus, Harry Ransom Center
Vikesh Kapoor: See You at Home
My ongoing project See You at Home (2017 – present) is a personal narrative that centers on family, memory and the myth and melancholy surrounding the American Dream.
My parents, Shailendra and Sarla Kapoor, immigrated from India in 1973, settling in a small town of 10,000 people in rural Pennsylvania. They are one of only a few immigrant families in the region. While they left India for a better life, the shift from a collectivist nation to an individualistic one led to isolation just as much as it led to freedom. As they grow old in Pennsylvania with my sister and I no longer living nearby, their isolation only becomes more apparent to me.
I began making work about my family during a trip to India with my father, fifteen years ago. I hadn’t visited since I was a child, and it was my father’s first time in sixteen years. It was important for both of us. Questions of family, identity and personal history were born out of that trip and continue to inform my work and this project today.
See You at Home explores the dichotomy of home and homeland, freedom and isolation, collectivism and individualism, through images I make of my parents’ current life in America imbued with memories of their past. Although this personal narrative began as an examination of diaspora, aging and the unique duties that fall to the only son of Asian immigrants, my hope is that See You at Home will resonate with other first-generation Americans and those interested in the myth of the American identity, seeking to find place and purpose here.
Vikesh Kapoor Vikesh Kapoor is an artist from Sunset Pines, Pennsylvania, whose work examines race, class and identity as a first-generation American.
His ongoing photo-based narrative See You at Home has received support from curators at the National Portrait Gallery, SFMoMA, LACMA, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Museum.
Kapoor received The Hopper Prize in 2020, a Lensculture Art Photography Juror’s Pick Award in 2018 and CENTER’s Project Development Grant in 2018.
In 2020, he received 2nd place for the PHmuseum Mobile Photography Prize. He was also a finalist for the Documentary Essay Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and a finalist for the Portrait Award presented by Head On Photo Festival.
In 2019, Kapoor was a semifinalist for the Outwin Boochever Award at National Portrait Gallery and shortlisted for the Grand Prix Images Vevey Award.
His photographs have exhibited at Photo Vogue Festival, Aperture Foundation, Houston Center for Photography and SFCamerawork, among other venues.
He was recently an artist-in-residence at Center of Photography at Woodstock in New York and will continue work on See You At Home at Latitude Chicago in 2021.
Priya Kambli: Buttons for Eyes
My work has always been informed by the loss of my parents, my experience as a migrant, and the archive of family photographs I brought with me to America. For the past decade, this archive has been my primary source material in creating bodies of work that strive to understand the formation and erasure of identity that is an inevitable part of the migrant experience.
My series Buttons for Eyes, in which my personal narrative is foregrounded – the title referring to my mother’s playful yet nuanced question, “Do you have eyes or buttons for eyes?”. It is a question laced with parental fear. Her concern was not only about my inability to see some trivial object right in front of me, but our collective inability to see well enough to navigate in the world. And with the benefit of hindsight those worries have political dimensions that may be read as implicit in the work. This work continues my effort to think about themes of identity, migration, and loss as catalysts for dialogue and the forging of cross-cultural understanding as well as its reflection on the broader cultural context. But the impetus for Buttons for Eyes, is the heightening of anti-immigrant rhetoric which has altered the context in which migrant voices like mine are heard. In this altered reality, the meaning of our personal stories has become political.
Priya Kambli received her BFA at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette and an MFA from the University of Houston. She is currently Professor of Art at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
One of her most significant accomplishments was receiving the Book Award through PhotoLucida’s Critical Mass for her series Color Falls Down, published in 2010. This series marked her maturing as an artist and was conceived shortly after her first child, her son Kavi, was born. It inadvertently examines the question asked by Kavi at age three; did she belong to two different worlds, since she spoke two different languages? The essence of his question continues to be a driving force in her art making.
Kambli’s artwork has been well received, having been exhibited, published, collected and reviewed in the national and international photographic community. The success of Kambli’s work underlines the fact that she is engaged in an important dialogue, and reinforces her intent to make work driven by a growing awareness of the importance of many voices from diverse perspectives and the political relevance of our private struggles.
Allison Grant: Within the Bittersweet
Within the Bittersweet is a dark pastoral narrative that examines motherhood and the landscape as sites of connection to the Anthropocene. The photographs in the series were taken in and around my West Alabama home where dense vegetation and natural beauty are made all the richer by warm winters and heavy rains that are the result of climate change. Amid dense vegetation, chemical and fossil fuel industries dot the region we live in, spreading particulates and toxins across the terrain and into our bodies and the atmosphere. In my artwork, the dark realities of the landscape we live in are interlaced with representations of my deep love for my children and the physical world around us—a living landscape of incredible complexity that my daughters are only just coming to know. The climate crisis will undoubtedly reshape the world they inherit, and in my art work I negotiate the beauty and heartbreak of raising them on a wondrous planet in the midst of change.
Allison Grant is an artist, writer, curator and Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Her artworks have been widely exhibited at venues including the DePaul Art Museum, Azimuth Projects, Packer Schopf Gallery and the Weston Art Gallery, among others. She was the 2019 recipient of the Developed Work Fellowship from the Midwest Center for Photography and shortlisted for the 2019 FotoFilmic Mesh Prize. Her works are held in public collections at DePaul Art Museum (Chicago), Columbia College Chicago, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and 4-Culture (Seattle, Wash.). Essays by Grant have appeared in Minding Nature Journal and INCITE: Journal of Experimental Media, Volume 7, as well as numerous artist publications and exhibition catalogs. Grant holds an MFA from Columbia College Chicago (2011) and BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design (2004).