Dayanita Singh: Zakir Hussain Maquette



ISBN: 9783958296237 Category:

Dayanita Singh


The book is well known as Dayanita Singh’s primary medium, one she explores to create new relationships between photography, publishing, the exhibition and the museum. But where did her passion for the book as the ideal vessel for her photos, for the stories she tells, begin? The answer lies in Zakir Hussain, a handmade maquette Singh crafted in 1986 as her first project as a graphic design student. The protagonist of Singh’s photo essay is the Indian classical tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, whom she captured on the stage and at home with his family. Surrounding the photos are handwritten texts gleaned from interviews Singh made with her sitters, including insights from Hussain: “I will always be a musician. A musician will always be a musician, not just me. He may stop performing but the musician is still there.”

This Steidl facsimile edition is scanned from Singh’s original maquette and reproduces all its “imperfections” and idiosyncrasies including her pencilled notes about the book’s construction- indications of the influential bookmaker to come. Shanay Jhaveri’s accompanying essay discusses how Singh came to “make” the original, referring to her student notes and exploring how she intuitively assembled the book, from editing the images to design, setting the ground for the book objects and photo architectures of her later practice.

Making the book is my work. The photographs are just the raw material. I make photo-graphs to make books, and I now make books to make book objects. – Dayanita Singh

Additional information

Weight 596 g
Dimensions 22.1 x 23.9 cm
Publisher name Steidl
Publication date 10 April 2020
Number of pages 96
Format Hardback
Dimensions 22.1 x 23.9 cm
Weight 596 g


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Dayanita Singh was born in New Delhi in 1961 and studied at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and the International Center of Photography in New York. Singh's exhibitions include those at the Serpentine Gallery in London, Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, the Hayward Gallery in London, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt. In 2013 Singh represented Germany at the Venice Biennale. Bookmaking is central to her practice. Singh's books with Steidl include Privacy (2004), GoAway Closer (2007), Sent a Letter (2007), Dream Villa (2010), File Room (2013), Museum of Chance (2014) and Museum Bhavan, Book of the Year at the 2017 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards and recipient of the 2018 ICP Infinity Award for Artist's Book.