Abhi Chinniah

Abhi’s exhibition A Migrant’s Path is on at Depot Artspace from 12 August – 1 September 2021.

Due to recent Covid19 lockdown during the exhibition, works have been made available for viewing online.
You can view A Migrant’s Path on the Online Gallery here and further works on her website.

*All images are courtesy of the artist Abhi Chinniah

  1. Intro
    Hello! Abhi here, portrait photographer, marketer by profession, I have a 6 month old border collie who takes up alot of my time (believe people when they tell you border collies have A LOT of energy). I currently have my exhibition A Migrant’s Path showing at Depot Artspace until September 1st. Thank you to all the people who have come in and engaged with the portraits + essays so far!
  2. You grew up in Malaysia. What was your upbringing/background like and also your personal immigration story?
    Come into the (now online) gallery and read my essay to find out!
  3. How did you get into photography and now to your art practice?
    I’ve been photographing since I was a teenager, with a keen interest in portraiture. I remember my dad buying me a small tripod because he noticed how attached I was to my Sony point-and-shoot. It’s funny I didn’t realise photography was my thing until I hit my mid-twenties and was between jobs. I picked up my partner’s Canon 6D and a friend and I headed to a beach out West. That day changed things for me and set me on a completely different path. I’d been in the hair and beauty industry up to that point and honestly thought that was going to be my lifelong career (who knows I may go back eventually). That friend is Soph by the way whose portrait and essay is part of my exhibition showing in your space.
  1. What was a challenging time & a time of highlight in your journey as an artist?
    A challenging time was probably last year when I had completed my first series Light Skin Dark Skin and the pandemic hit. I wasn’t sure if or when the work would get to be seen, and that was pretty intense as I imagine it would be for anyone who puts their heart and soul into something. A highlight would be having one of my portraits on a billboard in Tauranga along The Strand in January last year (remember a time BEFORE the pandemic?!), it was part of a competition that I was a finalist in.
  1. Where/what/who do you draw inspiration from?
    I draw inspiration from my lived experience, and the experiences of my family. Particularly my father and his migration story. A lot of this has also come from really missing my parents who live in Malaysia. I see this exhibition as an extension of Light Skin Dark Skin. All the portraits were taken in New Zealand! My self portrait was taken in my living room.
  1. What do you see as some of the main takeaways from this exhibition?
    I suppose it would be raising awareness. Putting women I never saw celebrated in mainstream media on gallery walls. Photographing them, telling their story, creating togetherness. Taking photos.

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