Saibal Das - Before the Birth of Time

Tasveer is delighted to present the exhibition Before the Birth of Time, by Saibal Das.

This series of black and white photographs visually explores and attempts to understand some of the most significant yet shrouded pilgrimage sites, spiritual ideologies and religious practices in India. Das contemplates life, death and the spiritual journey to the ‘Self’, revealing unseen characteristics and concealed realities of the people he photographs and the landscape they inhabit. Das’ sensitive illustrations embody the sense of calm, divinity and blissful isolation exuded by his subjects, the environment, and its context, and reflect his own contemplative and meditative sensibility.

Das began his photographic career as a photojournalist, and worked with The Telegraph, Outlook and India Today, photographing the ULFA insurgency, the Taliban’s invasion of Afghanistan, and cultural unrest in North-East India. In this body of work, however, Das demonstrates a different approach to photography, his images reveal an evident personal resonance and empathy towards his subjects. Rather than presenting an impartial narrative, he instead invites contemplation, encouraging his viewer to permeate the somewhat unfamiliar world of monks, devotees, ‘Nagas’, Sadhus, and other individuals seeking spiritual enlightenment. Das’ subjects often seem detached from the material world, aware of the camera or not, they seem to only half exist in our world and reality, where they become timeless.

Das’ evident personal connection with these diverse spiritual philosophies and practices, allows the viewer to adopt a renewed gaze and perspective on these holy cities, which, although venerated by many, are often criticised for overwhelming visitors with their crowds, dirt and propagations of false spiritual power. Das’ photographs therefore function as a visual critique questioning and provoking our prevailing notions of reality, memory, the finality of death and the legitimacy of material existence, with an aesthetic reminiscent of the subconscious rather than the conscious.

Before the Birth of Time is Saibal Das’ third exhibition with Tasveer, and the exhibition is accompanied by a new book featuring a specially commissioned text by Naveen Kishore — publisher, writer, photographer, and founder of Seagull Books Kolkata. Kishore’s poetic response and dissemination of Das’ images give these photographs an added dimension, illuminating Das’ otherworldly imagery through his poignant musings on death and our concepts of memory and faith. 

Exhibition Schedule

Ahmedabad - National Institute of Design

22 August - 31 August 2021

National Institute of Design
Design Gallery, Paldi,
Ahmedabad 380007
4:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily


29 September - 10 October 2021

Institute of Contemporary Indian Art
22/26, K. Dubhash Marg,
Kala Ghoda, Mumbai - 400 023




05 January - 15 January 2022

Saffronart, Delhi
The Oberoi Hotel
Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg
New Delhi 110003


03 March - 16 March 2022

The Harrington Street Arts Centre
8 Ho Chi Minh Sarini
Harrington Mansions 2nd Floor
Flat no.5 & 25B
Kolkata 700071 
Monday to Saturday 12.00 pm - 7.00 pm


16 April - 07 May 2022

Sua House
26/1 Kasturba Cross Road
Bangalore 560001
Monday to Saturday 10.00 am – 6.00 pm