Sunil Gupta

India 1953


Sunil Gupta
Sunil Gupta
March 2, 2016
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Today, nearly 40 million people around the world live with HIV. Unfortunately, this biography is about one of them. Sunil Gupta is an Indian-born artist, curator, writer and cultural activist – who decided to employ his talent in a combat on every possible front, against this vicious virus. He is a part of Visual AIDS, an artistic affiliation dedicated to fighting AIDS by provoking dialogue and supporting HIV+ artists.

In India, homosexuality is still illegal and strongly marked as a sin and illness

Sunil Gupta - Sun City series, Untitled 7, 2010
Sunil Gupta – Sun City series, Untitled 7, 2010

New Delhi – New York – London: Sunil Gupta’s Artistic Evolution

Sunil was born in 1953, in New Delhi. During the late 60s, Gupta family moved to Montreal, where he got his BA in Communications in 1977, at Concordia University. His thirst for an artistic education led him to New York and then England. After receiving his diploma in Photography at West Surrey College of Art & Design, in Farnham – Gupta decided to continue his academic perfecting in London. The Royal College of Art was more than happy to have him, and soon upon he earned an MA in 1981, Sunil enrolled the University of Surrey, where he got an Honorary MA.
In 1989, Gupta co-founded Autograph – the Association of Black Photographers, and few years later he participated in the birth of the Organisation for Visual Arts (OVA), aimed to promote a better understanding of culturally diverse visual arts practices.

Exploring India, America and England in a project simply titled Homelands

Sunil Gupta - Homelands series, 2001-03
Sunil Gupta – Homelands series, 2001-03

Fighting Back the HIV virus by Connecting East and West

During his university days, in 1995, Sunil was diagnosed as HIV positive. Even though one simply can’t ignore that kind of fact, Gupta decided not to let it rule, and eventually ruin, his life and his entire world. He decided to fight back. As an artist, he always gravitated towards self-referential art exploration and expression, never losing from his sight a universal nature of the human condition. Coming from the Eastern culture and living in the Western one, Gupta felt it was only right to connect these two sides of the world, bringing them closer to one another. Back home, Sunil created a large-scale color diptychs showing a link between different continents’ landscapes. By joining Europe with Asia and America – Gupta confronts theirs cultural product – a society, or simply put – people, together with their share of prejudices or empathy. His project is done from the need to explore different lives he would have as an HIV positive person in India, States or England, admitting silently that his life on west very much differs from that which he would have lived in his homeland India, where homosexuality is still illegal and strongly considered a sin and illness.

This artist is represented by Stephen Bulger Gallery from Toronto.

Sunil Gupta lives and works in London, England – as a Canadian citizen.

Gupta’s portrait image copyright © Sridhar Rangayan for Bolo Project
Artworks images copyright © artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Queer MigrationsWhitney Humanities Centre, Yale UniversitySolo
2015Picture This: Contemporary Photography from IndiaPhiladelphia Museum of ArtGroup
2015I am a CameraFotofest, HoustonGroup
2015Safe, HomeManchesterGroup
2015GFestMenier Gallery, LondonGroup
2014Sunil Gupta: Out and About in New York and New DelhiSepia Eye, New YorkSolo
2014My Sweet Lord1x1 Gallery, DubaiGroup
2014Sunil GuptaMagdalen College, OxfordGroup
2014KeywordsTate, LiverpoolGroup
2014Love AIDS RiotSex 2 NGBK, BerlinGroup
2013KeywordsIniva, LondonGroup
2013001 91+001 92Art Gallery of Mississauga, Ontario, CanadaGroup
2012Sun City & Other StoriesAlliance Francaise Gallery, New DelhiSolo
2012Indian Highway, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, BeijingGroup
2012Clifford Chance Annual Pride Exhibition A Question of Sport: LGBT artists and their relationship to inclusivityLondonGroup
2012The World in LondonThe Photographers’ Gallery, LondonGroup
20122012: A Further Global EncounterGrosvenor/Vadehra, LondonGroup
2011Indian HighwayMusée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon & MAXXI, RomeGroup
2011The Matter Within New Contemporary Art of IndiaYerba Buena, San FransiscoGroup
2011Paris Delhi Bombay...Centre Pompidou, ParisGroup
2011Something I've Been Meaning To Tell YouVadehara Art Gallery, New DelhiGroup
2011Women in LoveAshna Gallery, New DelhiGroup
2010The New Pre RaphaelitesGrosvenor Vadehra, LondonSolo
2010Face UpVadehara Art Gallery, New DelhiGroup
2009Love, UndetectableVadehra Art Gallery, DelhiSolo
2009Imagining ChildhoodSepia, New YorkSolo
2009Mr Malhotra's PartyStephen Bulger, TorontoSolo
2009Self and the OtherEspai 2, Palau de la Virreina, BarcelonaGroup
2009En todas partes (Everywhere)Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, SpainGroup
2009Group ShowSh(OUT) Gallery of Modern Art, GlasgowGroup
2009Group showVadehra Art Gallery at ARCO, MadridGroup
2008Make Art/Stop AIDSFowler Museum, UCLA, Los AngelesGroup
2008PrideClifford Chance, LondonGroup
2008Modern IndiaValencian Institute of Modern Art, ValenciaGroup
2008By All MeansThomas Erben Gallery, Scpe Basel, BaselGroup
2008Street & StudioTate Modern, LondonGroup
2008MasculinitiesJawarharlal Nehru University, DelhiGroup
2007Sunil GuptaBombay Art Gallery, MumbaiSolo
2007Photo LondonLondonGroup
2007QuietscapesMuseeo Carrilo Gill, Mexico CityGroup
2007Les Rancontres d'ArlesArlesGroup
2007Public Places/Private SpacesNewark Museum, NewarkGroup
2007Gill & GuptaIndia International Centre, DelhiGroup
2007Horn PleaseKunstmuseum, BernGroup
2006Imagining Childhood: Living with HIV in DelhiCollege of Saten Island, New YorkSolo
2006Looking for Langston (with Isaac Julien)Metro Pictures, New YorkSolo
2006Making JourneysDjanogly Art Gallery, NottinghamGroup
2006The Eigth SquareMuseum Ludwig, CologneGroup
2005Sunil GuptaCanadian Museum for Contemporary Photography, OttawaSolo
2004Pictures From HereJohn Hansard Gallery, SouthamptonSolo
2004HomelandsSepia International, New YorkSolo
2004HomelandsStephen Bulger Gallery, TorontoSolo
2004Pictures From HereLondon Print StudioSolo
2004Pictures From HereIndia Habitat Centre, New DelhiSolo
2004Tales of A City DelhiLighthouse, PooleSolo
2004Faces in the CrowdWhitechapel Art Gallery, LondonGroup
2004InvalidStephen Lawrence Gallery, LondonGroup
1997Trespass 3Bedford Hill Gallery, LondonSolo
1997Trespass 3Portfolio, EdinburghSolo
1996Trespass 3YYZ, TorontoSolo
1995Trespass 3Focal Point Gallery, SouthendSolo
1994Trespass 3Contemporary Art Gallery, VancouverSolo
1994Havana BiennialLudwig Forum, AachenGroup
1994Havana BiennialCubaGroup
1993They Call it LoveNGBK, BerlinGroup
1992/3Trophies of EmpireArnolfini, Bristol & Ferens Art Gallery, HullGroup
1992Fine Material for a DreamHarris Museum, Preston & Touring (Hull,Oldham)Group
1992How Do I Look?Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane & TouringGroup
1992Queer LandscapeEvergreen State College, Olympia (Washington State)Group
1992Dis/OrientUIC Gallery 400, ChicagoGroup
1991Film in the CitiesSt Paul, Minnesota (USA)Solo
1991Theatre WorkshopEdinburgh (Festival)Solo
1991Shocks to the SystemThe South Bank Centre, LondonGroup
1990Post MoralityKettle's Yard, CambridgeGroup
1990AutoportraitsCamerawork, LondonGroup
1990Ecstatic AntibodiesImpressions Gallery of Photography, York (Tour)Group
1989Fabled TerritoriesLeeds City Art Gallery (Tour)Group
1989Partners in CrimeCamerawork, LondonGroup
1989Through the Looking GlassBarbican Gallery, LondonGroup
1988Social SecurityThe Showroom, LondonSolo
1988Monologue/DialogueRandolph Street Gallery, ChicagoGroup
1997/98Transforming the CrownCaribbean Cultural Centre, New YorkGroup
1987The Body PoliticThe Photographers' Gallery, London (Tour)Group
1986GuptaLeica Gallery, WetzlarSolo
1986GuptaSouth Hill Park, BracknellSolo
1986Same DifferenceCamerawork, LondonGroup
1986DarshanGLC/ Camerawork, LondonGroup
1986The Black ExperienceBrixton Art GalleryGroup
1985Riverside OpenRiverside Studios, LondonGroup
1985Staying OnThe Photographers' Gallery, LondonGroup
1984Sunil GuptaMuseum & Art Galleries, LeicesterSolo
1984Sunil GuptaMuseum & Art Galleries, NottinghamSolo
1984Sunil GuptaUN International Maritime Organisation, LondonSolo
1984Group ShowFive Dials Gallery, LondonGroup
1984Brilliance BooksPeople's Gallery, LondonGroup
1983Sunil GuptaCommonwealth Institute, LondonSolo
1983SnapOval House, LondonGroup
1983New ContemporariesICA, LondonGroup
1982The Living ArtsSerpentine Gallery, LondonGroup
1980Sunil GuptaIndia International Centre, New DelhiSolo
1980Salford '80SalfordGroup