Edition 2023

Association du MÉJAN

Charles Fréger


The photography project Aam Aastha, produced in India from 2019 to 2022, is a part of Charles Fréger’s series on masquerades around the world: Wilder Mann (2010-ongoing), Yokainoshima (2013-2015), and Cimarron (2014-2018).

In India, the photographer went out to meet a pantheon of a thousand faces: divinities are legion, embodied in sacred performances in temples, theaters, and the street. Portraying the gods involves redistributing assigned social roles the time of the masquerades, which vary according to region, ethnic and religious communities, and follow current events. Through costume, the actors become the true, temporal incarnations of god: changes in appearance incite changes in status. Aam Aastha, whose title refers to these “common devotions”, captures the vivid avatars and uncovers the masked game of performance, between reinforcing power and subversion, set against a political background dominated by a Hindu Nationalism that tends to homogenize traditional practices. The photographs were taken with the support of the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès, the Fondation Antoine de Galbert, the Région Normandie, the Institut français en Inde and the Musée d'histoire de Nantes.
  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture