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An evocative exhibition that brought together the work of 21st century visual artists, Jeremy Bear, Sunara Begum and Dunstan Perera, with that of the 19th century pioneering photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. Across the centuries and continents that reflected on the similarities in the way their different personal histories interweaved India, Sri Lanka and Britain and parallels in the way they worked and conveyed their ideas.

Julia Margaret Cameron declared that her photographs should be regarded as art and in Creative Cross-Currents with India and Sri Lanka a selection of her rarely seen images made in Sri Lanka were included alongside paintings prints, films and an installation made specially for Dimbola by Jeremy Bear, Sunara Begam and Dunstan Perera, that used a variety of media and techniques.– some of which she might have chosen to try out if they had existed in her time.

Jeremy Bear showcased over 20 paintings revealing the vibrant, urban life and creative spirit
of the people observed by him on the streets of 21st century Kolkata and further afield.

Sunara Begum presented a series of drypoint and carborundum monoprints inspired by visits to Kolkata and Sri Lanka, where she walked in the footstep of Julia Margaret Cameron. This meditative and atmospheric
work explored notions of identity and origin and drew upon Bengali creation myths.

Dunstan Perera grew up in Sri Lanka and moved to London as a young man. There and in the US he pursued a long career as a stills photographer in the film industry. A work assignment took him back to Sri Lanka and that journey, which built on a life-long passion for his country of birth and inspired the series of monoprints that were included in the exhibition. These were made using naturally occurring polymers for colour and a heliographic technique similar to that used in early photography.

Fewer than 30 photographs remain from those taken by Julia Margaret Cameron during the years she spent in Sri Lanka. Digitised versions of seven of those works in the collection of the National Museum of Science and Media in Bradford and in Dimbola’s own collection were included in the exhibition to demonstrate parallels and synergy between her work and that of the three present-day artists.

This film documents the exhibition and outreach activities of the Creative Cross-Currents with India and Sri Lanka project curated and organised by Griselda Bear and launched at the Dimbola Museum and Galleries, Isle of Wight in Spring 2022. The exhibition explores and reveals significant similarities in the lives and work of the three present-day artists, Jeremy Bear, Sunara Begum and Dunstan Perera, and the pioneering 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.


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