Centralia exposes hidden crimes of war as an indigenous people fight for their survival. In war, truth is the first casualty and Centralia explores the unsteady relationship between reality and fiction and how our perceptions of reality and truth are manipulated. Combining tropes of documentary and fiction, art historian Emilia Terracciano, writing in 1000words magazine, has called Centralia a ‘hallucinatory reflection’ where an invisible conflict between a guerilla army, an indigenous people and the Indian state is associated with wider issues of environmental degradation. Such exploitation comes at a price: the transmogrification of violence into the de-facto language of politics. The voice of resistance is buried by alternate facts. Freedom is shrinking and what we say and who we are is being obscured.
Poulomi Basu is an Indian transmedia artist, photographer, and activist whose work advocating for the rights of women has received wide attention. In her practice she explores how the formation of identity intersects with geopolitics to reveal the deep, often hidden power structures in our societies. Born and raised in India, Basu spent her formative years in Calcutta, whose cinematic tradition provided early inspiration. Basu majored in Sociology, then completed her Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. She has exhibited internationally, was a Magnum Foundation Human Rights Fellow in 2012, and won the Magnum Emergency Fund in 2016. She directs Just Another Photo Festival, a traveling guerilla visual media festival that democratizes photography by offering it to ordinary people and building new audiences. She is interested in the lives of those who quietly challenge the prevailing orthodoxies of their worlds. Her first book, Centralia, appeared in 2020.