Utilizing a variety of cameras, films, and processing techniques, Shumon Ahmed produces images of a poetic stillness and melancholy. In these works, the artist depicts rusted freighters and tankers off the shores of Chittagong, Bangladesh, home to one of the world’s largest ship-breaking industries, where retired ships are dismantled and stripped for parts. In some photos, the overwhelming scale of these vessels suggests monumental carcasses of sea monsters; elsewhere, the ships appear ghostly and spectral, as if from a bygone era. Looming throughout are the environmental hazards of the industry, which has destroyed ecologically important wetlands and harmed local wildlife and populations with its toxic byproducts. Further, the works highlight the ways in which global capital and trade have disproportionately impacted nations and ecologies of the global south.
Metal Graves 14 and 15, 2009; When Dead Ships Travel 10 and 12, 2015; digital prints on archival rag fine art paper; courtesy of the artist and Project 88, Mumbai
Dhaka-based multidisciplinary artist Shumon Ahmed’s work in photography and film ulitizes experimental techniques to yield painterly, melancholic images. Since completing his studies at the South Asian Media Academy in 2009, he has been featured in exhibitions and festivals throughout South Asia and Europe, including at the Whitechapel Gallery and the Fotomuseum Winterthur.