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Masterji @The Box, Fargo Village | 3 – 20 November – Free

6 October 2016

Masterji is a 94 year old photographer, who has documented the arrival and the lives of South Asian immigrants to Coventry since the 1950’s, is being exhibited for the first time in November.
Masterji moved to Coventry from Surat in India in 1951, with little more than a box brownie camera.
With a keen eye for photography, he began to shoot the local community and opened a portrait studio in Stoney Stanton Road, which he ran from the 1960’s to the 1990’s. It is still there today and is run by his son Ravindra Patel.
The photographs have been curated by a local group called the Photo Archive Miners (PAM) who discovered Masterji’s work during their Imagine Hillfields exhibition in 2015.
Jason Tilley, of PAM, said: “The work of Masterji is of huge significance not just for Coventry but the UK because it’s a window into the lives of people as they arrived here and the image they wanted to send home.
“Many of the pictures were taken as portraits or for their official documentation so you see a very formal image. In other photos, you see a more laid back style and also some of the difficulties they faced so it really documents a very important part of the city’s history and its cultural diversity.”
PAM have managed to track down hundreds of photographs and are carefully restoring them to their former glory with the help of his daughter, Tarla Patel.
The exhibition will be on show at The Box at Fargo Village – an event that has been brought about by Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021.

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