Annu Palakunnathu Matthew (born 1964 in Stourport, England[1]) is a professor of art (photography) in the University of Rhode Island's Department of Art and Art History.[2] Matthew’s photo-based work draws from her experience of having lived between cultures and about being an immigrant in the USA. Her work has been featured in The New York Times,[3] on CNN Photo Blog,[4] and in Buzzfeed.[5] It is also included in the book Blink which compiles the work of 100 contemporary photographers.[6] Her work has been exhibited at her gallerist, SepiaEye, in New York The RISD Museum; Guangzhou Biennial of Photography, China; Tang Museum, New York; and The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Photographic works

To Majority Minority

By 2050, the U.S. populations once called "minorities" will become the majority. To Majority Minority examines these changes, and the new, multicultural America, in terms of cultures, religions and stories. The portfolio explores the generational transition from immigrant to native within families, starting with portrait photographs from immigrant’s albums. Old photographs reflect where immigrants have come from, revealing family histories and shared stories of immigration.[7]

An Indian From India

An Indian From India plays on the confusion between Native Americans and Indians from India. It uses photographs of Native Americans from the Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century that perpetuated and reinforced stereotypes and finds similarities in how Nineteenth and early Twentieth century photographers of Native Americans looked at what they called the primitive natives, similar to the colonial gaze of the Nineteenth century British photographers working in India.[8][9][10][11]

Open Wound

Open Wound uses photo animations to explore the turmoil of families impacted by the Partition of India in 1947. It has been 65 years since the Partition, where 12 million people were displaced within three months and over a million died. But unlike tragedies such as the Holocaust, there is no memorial about the Partition. There is little for the larger public to understand and commemorate those impacted by this tragedy.


ReGeneration builds on the presumed veracity of photographs to spur a critical reflection on the power of photography and its effect on the perception of memory, family and the warping of cultures over time. The final ephemeral animation is built from archival images and recent photographs of three or more generations of women. The digital technology and animation makes it appear that the old and new images flow one into another.

Memories of India

Memories of India reflects Matthew's mixed background, as she was born in England, raised in India and now is living in America.The images are a time warp, revisiting the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood impressions of her cultural homeland, India. The images are captured by the use of a simple plastic-lensed Holga camera, that makes images with a dreamy quality.[12]

Fabricated Memories

Fabricated Memories uses digital technology and Polaroid film to reconstruct memories, combining recent images with childhood snapshots. The results are seemingly realistic images of events that never happened but reflect emotions from the artist's childhood. A small handmade accordion book presents the images as Polaroid emulsion transfers. Some pages also include text. To emphasize the fact that Matthew's father died due to smoking, the book is covered in paper made from tobacco leaves and is presented in a cigarette box. The paper has been stained with tobacco juice so that the viewer experiences the tobacco through sight, touch and smell. The pages of the book are made from a delicate handmade paper to suggest the images are very fragile.[13]

Bollywood Satirized

Bollywood Satirized, a digital portfolio, is a critical commentary on the societal expectations for women growing up in India. The work uses movie posters which reflect the popular culture of Indian life. The visual and aural presence of cinema in India is the result of the largest commercial film industry in the world that produces over eight hundred movies a year and reaches approximately 3.5 billion people. Most of the 2 billion dollar industry is concentrated in Bombay, (now called Mumbai) which is also called “Bollywood”.[14]


  • 2003: John Gutmann Fellowship, The San Francisco Foundation.[15]
  • 2007: MacColl Johnson Fellowship in Visual Arts.[16][17]
  • 2009: University of Rhode Island Center for the Humanities Visiting Scholar Grant for the visit of Hasan Elahi, Assistant Professor at the CADRE Laboratory for New Media School of Art and Design, San Jose State University.[18]
  • 2011: University of Rhode Island Center for the Humanities Sabbatical Fellowship for her project “Expanding Re-Generations.”[18]
  • 2012: Fulbright Fellowship.[19]
  • 2010: Rhode Island State Council of the Arts Fellowship.[20]
  • American Institute of Indian Studies Creative Arts fellowship.[21]
  • Artist in residence, Yaddo Colony, Saratoga Springs, NY and the MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH.[22]
  • 2013: Society of Photographic Educators (SPE) Future Focus Project support grant.[23]
  • 2013: University of Rhode Island Center for the Humanities Faculty Subvention Grant for her project “Re-Generations-An Open Wound.”[18]
  • 2015: Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship Merit Award in New Genres.[24][25]
  • 2015–2017: Recipient of the Silvia Chandley Professorship in Nonviolence and Peace

Selected exhibitions


  • Generations, Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario, Canada (2015).[26]
  • The Virtual Immigrant, Stockton College, Galloway, NJ (2009).[27]
  • The Virtual Immigrant, Tasveer Gallery, Bangalore, India (2009).[28]
  • The Virtual Immigrant, Institute of Contemporary Indian Art, Mumbai, India (2011).[28]
  • The Virtual Immigrant, Tasveer Gallery, New Delhi, India (2011).[28]
  • Re-Generations, Gallery Z20, Rome, Italy (2011).[29]
  • Open Wound, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI (2014).[30]
  • Between Cultures, Lycoming College, PA (2014).[31]
  • Bollywood Satirized, Watson Center, Brown University, Providence RI (2014).[32]
  • Memória, OÁ Galeria - Arte Contemporânea, Vittoria, Brazil (2014).[33]


  • 37 Still Lives, Design Gallery, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India (2013).[34]
  • 40 Artists / 40 Years: Selections from the Light Work Collection, Light Work, Syracuse, Lubin House, NYC (2013).[35]
  • A Photograph Is Not An Opinion, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai (2013).[36]
  • For Which It Stands, Lodge Gallery, New York, NY (2013).[37]
  • Grace, Delhi Photo Festival 2013, India Habitat Center, New Delhi, India (2013).[38]
  • Convergence: Contemporary Art from India and the Diaspora, The William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (2013).[39]
  • Self, Model, and Self as Other, The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX (2013).[40]
  • The First 15: Photography from the Meredith S. Moody Residency at Yaddo, Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY (2013).[22]
  • Home Truths: Motherhood, Photography and Loss, Foundling Museum, London, England (2013).[41]
  • The Other and Me, Sharjah Art Museum, Sarjah, UAE (2014).[42]
  • Conversation XVII: Photographic Memory, Spencer Art Museum, Lawrence, KS (2014).[43]
  • Forty Years of Blue Sky, Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR (2014).[44]
  • Postdate: Photography and Inherited History in India, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA (2015).[45]
  • Beyond Bollywood Indian-Americans Shape the Nation, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC (2015).[46]
  • Postdate: Photography and Inherited History in India, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS (2015).[47]
  • Re Present: Photography from South Asia, Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada (2018).[48]


  1. ^ "ANNU PALAKUNNATHU MATTHEW - Welcoming Rhode Island".
  2. ^ "Annu Palakunnathu Matthew." Department of Art and Art History. University of Rhode Island. n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.
  3. ^ Ganzalez, David. "An Indian from India Photographs Both." The New York Times. 21 April 2014. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.
  4. ^ Cavendish de Moura, Helena. "Portraits Challenge Cultural Perceptions." CNN Photos. n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.
  5. ^ Nashrulla, Tasneem. "Which Indian Are You?" Buzzfeed. 11 Mar. 2014. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.
  6. ^ "Selected Articles." Annu Matthew. n.d. Web. 13 Jan 2015. Archived February 21, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Luhar, Monica. "Multi-Generational Photos of America's Future Majority Minority". NBC NEWS 30 July 2014. Web. 30 April 2001.
  8. ^ "Pairing 'Indian' and 'India' Archived May 29, 2015, at the Wayback Machine" International New York Times. 23 April 2014. Web. 29 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Annu Palakunnathu Matthew" The Center for Photography at Woodstock. Web. 24 July 2015.
  10. ^ Chhaya, Priya. "Going Beyond: Annu Palakunnathu Mattew, Artist." Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
  11. ^ Chitnis, Deepak. "Indian American or American Indian." The American Bizaar. 21 Apr. 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
  12. ^ "2015".
  13. ^ "Fabricated Memories – Annu Palakunnathu Matthew".
  14. ^ Harrison, Helen A. "Art Reviews: Artist's Mondrian Imitations." The New York Times 15 April 2001.
  15. ^ "John Gutmann Photography Fellowship Recipients." John Gutmann. Web. 13 Jan 2015.
  16. ^ Rourke, Bryan. "Three RI Artists Win Coveted MacColl Johnson Fellowships." The Providence Journal 9 Sept 2007. Archived August 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Grosch, Connie. "The MacColl Johnson Fellowships: Celebrating Ten Years." Rhode Island Foundation 23 Jan. 2015. Web. 29 May 2015.
  18. ^ a b c "Recent Grant and Fellowship Awards". Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA). Retrieved 19 May 2015.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Annu Matthew." Fulbright Scholar Program. n.d. Web 26 Jan 2015.
  20. ^ "Fellowships for 2010." State of Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Web. 13 Jan 2015.
  21. ^ "AIIS Performing Arts Fellows Rock!" American Institute of Indian Studies. Web. 13 Jan 2015.
  22. ^ a b "Events – Yaddo".
  23. ^ Smithson, Aline. "Annu Palakunnathu Matthew: SPE Future Focus Project Support Grant Winner." Lenscratch. 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 26 Jan. 2015.
  24. ^ "Fellowships for FY2015". Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA)/. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  25. ^[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "Generations." Royal Ontario Museum Archived August 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ ""Press Release" Stockton College Art Gallery" (PDF).
  28. ^ a b c "Tasveer Gallery - Exhibitions Annu Palakunnathu Matthew The Virtual Immigrant".
  29. ^ Italy, - Celeste Network -. "Re-Generations. ANNU PALAKUNNATHU MATTHEW solo show".
  30. ^ "News – URI Today".
  31. ^ "Lycoming College Art Department to exhibit 'Between Cultures'". Lycoming College.
  32. ^ "Art at Watson Presents Annu Palakunnathu Matthew: Bollywood Satirized - Watson Institute".
  33. ^ "OA galeria". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-07-31.
  34. ^ "Tasveer Gallery - Group Shows 37 Indian Still Lifes About The Show".
  35. ^ "40 Artists / 40 Years:
    Selections from the Light Work Collection"
    . 6 June 2013.
  36. ^ Mumbai, FOCUS Festival (21 May 2013). "FOCUS Insights // A Photograph is not an Opinion // Curated by Sunil Gupta // Jehangir Art Gallery // FOCUS Festival Mumbai 2013" – via Vimeo.
  37. ^ "FOR WHICH IT STANDS • The Lodge Gallery". 19 July 2013.
  38. ^ "sepia EYE: Annu Palakunnathu Matthew in Grace". Archived from the original on 2016-08-09. Retrieved 2015-07-31.
  39. ^ "Convergence: Contemporary Art from India and the Diaspora - The William Benton Museum of Art". 22 October 2013.
  40. ^ ""Self, Model, and Self as Other" MFAH". Archived from the original on 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2015-07-31.
  41. ^ "Home Truths - The Photographers' Gallery". Archived from the original on 2015-07-26. Retrieved 2015-07-31.
  42. ^ "sepia EYE: Bhalla and Matthew in Sharjah Art Museum's The Other and Me". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2015-07-31.
  43. ^ "Conversation XVII: Photographic Memory - Spencer Museum of Art".
  44. ^ "Blue Sky".
  45. ^ "The Greatest Indian Art Show of the Spring is Happening in America." The Huffington Post. 16 March 2015. Web. 22 May 2015.]
  46. ^ "Beyond Bollywood - Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center". Beyond Bollywood.
  47. ^ "Upcoming Exhibitions" Ulrich Museum of Art Archived August 11, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  48. ^ Gallery, Kamloops Art. "Re Present: Photography from South Asia". Kamloops Art Gallery. Retrieved 2019-03-01.

External links