For Immediate Release

House of Love: New Exhibition and Book by Photographer Dayanita Singh

(Cambridge, October 20, 2010) The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology presents a new book and exhibition by award-winning photographer Dayanita Singh. 

The Exhibition, House of Love: Photographic Fiction, Dayanita Singh

As the Museum’s 2008 Robert Gardner Photography Fellow, Dayanita Singh explored the human condition through images that began as a photographic diary and became the photographic fiction she titled House of Love. Although shot mostly in India, Singh says House of Love “refuses to confine the ‘human condition’ to a single meaning or context that could be reduced to categories like Indian Society or Indian Photography.”

House of Love refers to the Taj Mahal, the iconic architectural memorial to the beloved wife of a Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. For Dayanita Singh, it also refers to “a range of elusive meanings, some historical and some personal or idiosyncratic” to be teased from the photographs and accompanying text. Her work invites the viewer to dream of new meanings linking her photos with poetry and prose.

The exhibition, a curated selection of images from the book, will open Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at the Peabody Museum with a public reception from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.

The Book, House of Love

“The photographs ask to be read,” says Singh, “as if the book were a collection of stories.” The nine photographic chapters of Singh’s book are interwoven with poetry by various writers and accompanied by a set of original essays by Aveek Sen, winner of the 2009 International Center for Photography Infinity Award for Writing on Photography.

House of Love plays with how photography and writing together can open up ways of reinventing a condition of truths and lies,” say Singh, “a world where nothing is as it seems to be.”

House of Love will be published February 1, 2011 by the Peabody Museum Press and Radius Books of Santa Fe, NM. The book will be on sale at the exhibition opening and may also be purchased directly from the Peabody Museum or from local booksellers. (

About Dayanita Singh

Dayanita Singh was born in 1961 in New Delhi. She studied visual communication at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and documentary photography at the International Center of Photography in New York.

Her works have been exhibited extensively, including galleries in Rome, New York, Berlin, London, Milan, Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, Guangju and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Singh has published nine books of her photographs: Zakir Hussain (1986), Myself, Mona Ahmed (2001), Privacy (2003), Chairs (2005), Go Away Closer (2007), Sent a Letter (2008), Blue Book (2008), Dream Villa (2010), and Dayanita Singh (2010). Dayanita Singh lives and works in New Delhi.

About the Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography

The Fellowship funds an “established practitioner of the photographic arts to create and subsequently publish through the Peabody Museum a major book of photographs on the human condition anywhere in the world.” The Fellowship committee invites nominations from experts around the world; nominees are reviewed and selected by a committee of three. The fellowship is unique in its dedication to funding professional documentary photography.

The Fellowship was endowed by filmmaker and author Robert Gardner, whose works have entered the permanent canon of nonfiction filmmaking. Gardner’s works include the films “Dead Birds” and “Forest of Bliss” and the books Making Dead Birds: Chronicle of a Film, Human Documents: Eight Photographers, and Just Representations (all published by the Peabody Museum Press). Gardner was the producer and host of “Screening Room,” a series of more than one hundred 90-minute programs on independent and experimental filmmaking, which has been preserved and archived by the Museum of Film and Broadcasting in New York City. Gardner received Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Harvard University. He directed Harvard’s Film Study Center, was founder and director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, and taught Visual Arts at Harvard for almost 40 years. Gardner is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His new book of collected writings, Just Representations (2010), is co-published by Studio7Arts and the Peabody Museum Press.

About the Peabody Museum Press
The Peabody Museum began issuing monographs, archaeological research reports, and other publications related to the Museum’s collections and scholarly activities in 1888. Today, the Peabody Museum Press publishes the unique resources of the Museum and the work of its affiliated scholars. The press’s books include works in Old and New World archaeology, zooarchaeology, biological and sociocultural anthropology, indigenous arts, anthropology and aesthetics, and material culture. The press also publishes exhibition catalogues and the work of the Robert Gardner Photography Fellows and Gardner Visiting Artists.

About the Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.

Hours and location: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, $6 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to:

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Media Contact:

Faith Sutter
Communications Coordinator
Peabody Museum
Tel: 617-495-3397 

An image from the Being of Darkness chapter of House of Love: Photographic Fiction

High resolution images available on request. 

Exhibition Opening and Reception: House of Love: Photographic Fiction

Wednesday March 2, 2011

5-7 pm, Free

Information: 617-496-1027

See more events on the Calendar.


House of Love by Dayanita Singh, text by Aveek Sen

Peabody Museum Press / Radius Books $45

Publication date: February 1, 2011

Learn more about the Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography