Based on the theme of ‘international friendship’, ROSL’s Photography Competition is back and bigger than ever! Visual Arts Coordinator Robin Footitt reveals the three main prizewinners and the story behind each image
The series of lockdowns experienced throughout 2020 and early 2021 inspired Tirtha Lawati’s ongoing project Nyauli. Named after the Great Barbet, a bird native to Nepal whose song, according to folklore, is that of a lost lover, reflects Lawati’s own experience of growing up in the UK, born in Hangsari, Panchthar, Nepal. His nieces have become muses in between home schooling and are of a similar age to when he and his sister first arrived in the country.
Nyauli is inspired by Tirtha’s own childhood fascination with the dragonflies in Nepal, translating his observations of its whirring wings across a generation to Warwickshire – constructing a mise-en-scène with his nieces’ hair plaited in a traditional red accessory worn by Nepali women (lacha) and decorated with a combination of fresh garden flowers, yarn, and floral crafted beads. The open blue sky and plastic dragonfly balanced on a pointed fingertip add to the unusual effect reminiscent of childhood, getting lost playing in fantastical worlds and scenarios. It was this story that captured the judges’ attention, through a simple storytelling device the subject and composition were celebrated for their bold, striking simplicity and vibrant positive energy during these difficult times.