Diwan Manna

Diwan Manna

Born: In 1958, at Bareta, District Mansa (previously Bathinda), Punjab, India

About The Artist

Diwan Manna is known for his soulful images and is a pioneer among art photographers in India. He is one of the first exponents of conceptual photography in the country. His artistic technique and expression is unique and has a style of its own.

Diwan combines photography with painting, body arts and acting to create works that defy definition.

Most of his work is about his journey in search of trying to come to terms with the insidious and unrecognized forms of degradation of our sense of life and honour within ourselves as well as in others. He is not merely interested in presenting images of destruction of human goodness, courage and beauty, but tries to tap the unsuspected and as yet unrealized sources of tenderness, fortitude and humanity in us.

Some of the significant images that come to a serious art connoisseur’s mind are from the series Shores of the Unknown, After the Turmoil, Alienation, Violence (created with Diwan’s teacher and painter Raj Jan’s paintings as background) and Conceptual Self Portraits.

He shows us many aspects, in three successive phases, of his work. The black and white of his first work, and then the fiery contrasts of colours in his more recent work are only metaphors of eternal combat that men engage in to reach the light.

Diwan Manna reveals both his real compassion for his contemporaries as well as his admiration in front of the beauty and dignity of beings, for he knows how to affirm in his colour compositions his conviction of seeing in woman the future of the world and all its magic.

This is how Diwan Manna speaks to us and passes from social violence, precariousness of life of men and women living in the shadows like the forgotten, to the solitude of beings and their anguish. Few series of black and white photographs of technical mastery and perfect classical beauty precede here then big photographs, in intense colours, with carefully thought out portrayals that are like inner and symbolic dreams.

Life, Woman, Hope.

An encounter with these pictures is a disquieting and an empowering experience. It brings out our hidden humanness, which in fact becomes an experience of self-realization for each one of us. It opens a reservoir of fellow feeling across cultures, languages and political milieus.

In a way the experience of his images recovers for us our lost humanity. We can hear the pangs within us of the humanity being reborn.

Diwan Manna has been actively capturing/creating images in India, Europe, America and South East Asia since 1980. He is better known for his conceptual photographs. He was trained as a Graphics artist and a painter but chose to be a photographer. He has been given the National Academy award by National Lalit Kala Akademi (National Academy of Art) along with many other prestigious awards and honours.

He has been exhibiting his work internationally since 1986, including France, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Poland and India.


  • 1977-82, Graphic Art/ print making, Government College of Art, Chandigarh, India

Exhibitions (Individual):

  • Ages of Separation – Exhibition of Photographs, Curator Dr. Alka Pande, presented by Art Room, at Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat center, New Delhi September 2006, and at Gallery Art Room, New Delhi, Oct 2006.
  • After The Turmoil, Exhibition of photographs, International Art Centre, Paszkowka Palace. Krakow, Poland 2003-2004 .
  • Exhibition of Photographs, Barga, Italy, 2003.
  • Window on Time, Galerie Bateau Lavoir, Paris, 2001.
  • Wheel of Time, Alliance Francaise Le Corbusier de Chandigarh, 2000.
  • Photographs of Series: Alienation, Violence, Dhaba, Goat’s Eye and Shores of the Unknown at The Museum of Indian Art, Berlin, Germany, 2000.
  • Shores Of the Unknown, Galerie Bellevue, Berlin, Germany, 2000.
  • “Rooh Punjab Di”, Photographic Documentation of Rare Folk Musical Instruments and their players in Punjab, Central Plaza, Sector 17, Chandigarh, 1999.
  • Shropshire County Council, Shrewsbury, U.K., 1997.
  • Galleries, Sprout Farm, Telford, U.K., 1997.
  • Rowley’s Museum, Shrewsbury, U.K., 1997.
  • AIFACS Galleries, New Delhi, 1997.
  • Dewsbury Museum, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, U.K., 1996.
  • Exhibition of photographs on Taj Mahal, Le Route des Indes, Paris, France, 1994.
  • Galleries of West Midlands Art, Birmingham, U.K., 1994.
  • Traveling Show organized in U.K. by Light House Media Center, Wolverhampton,1993-2000.
  • Light House Media Center, Wolverhampton, U.K., 1993 as part of South Asian Visual Arts Festival.
  • Modern Art Gallery, Sheesh Mahal, Patiala, 1993.
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Panjab University, Chandigarh, 1992.
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Panjab University, Chandigarh, 1986.


  • National Academy Award in Photography, Central Lalit Kala Academy (National Fine Arts Academy), New Delhi, India 1996.
  • All India Photography Award, AIFACS, New Delhi, 1996.
  • All India Photography Award, AIFACS, New Delhi, 1995.
  • All India Photography Award, North Zone Cultural Center, India 1991.
  • All India Exhibition of Photo prints & Graphics, State Department of Language, Art & Culture, Himachal Pradesh, Shimla, India 1984.


  • Photo Artist of the Year Honor, on the occasion of 19th Biennial Convention of Federation of Indian Photography (FIP), 1998.
  • State Lalit Kala Academy, Punjab, India 1996.

Artist In Residence:

  • As part of Cultural Exchange between St-Etienne Metroplole France and Chandigarh, India,
  • To photograph Le Corbusier creations in Firminy, France by Diwan Manna and by Michel Dieudonne in Chandigarh 2006.
  • Conducted Multimedia Workshops for children below 3 years, parents and teachers at Sure Start, Birmingham County, UK, Sep 2003.
  • Conducted Photography Workshop at Rhyn Park Secondary School, U.K., 2001.
  • Conducted Photography Workshop at Rhyn Park Secondary School, U.K, 1998.
  • Conducted Multimedia Workshop in two schools in Shropshire, U.K., 1997.
  • Conducted Multimedia Workshop for Community Center, Wolverhampton, U.K., July, 1997.
  • Conducted Photography Workshop at Rhyn Park Secondary School, U.K., September – October, 1996.
  • Conducted Multimedia Workshops with women and children at Dewsbury Museum, West Yorkshire, U.K., 1996.
  • Conducted Multimedia Workshop for children (4 – 18 years) at Chandigarh Press Club, 1993.
  • Conducted Multimedia Workshops (on Painting, Acting and Photography) in schools of 10 towns in Shropshire, U.K., February - April, 1993.
  • Conducted Multimedia Workshops in schools of two towns in Shropshire, U.K., October - November, 1993.

Audio-Visual Lecture:

  • An exhibition of work done by students from U.K. (during the workshops conducted by Diwan Manna) at Rhyn Park, Telford, Oswestry and other places, 1993-96.
  • An exhibition of work done by workshop students from Chandigarh and U.K., at Punjab Arts Council, Chandigarh, 1994.


  • Museum Of Asian Art, Berlin, Germany 14 works.
  • St-Etienne, Metropolitan Council, France.
  • Govt. Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh, India.
  • Fine Arts Museum, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.
  • Deutsche Bank 8 works.
  • Embassy of Switzerland, New Delhi (7 works)
  • Rhyn Park Secondary School, UK, 20 works.
  • Shropshire County Council, UK.
  • Private Collections in USA, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, UK, Poland, Taiwan, Indonesia and India.
  • Governor House, Punjab, Chandigarh.


  • Solo Display of photographs at HSBC Bank Gallery, Chandigarh, India 2001-2004.


  • Participated in I – LAN International Folklore, Folk games and Folk music festival, Taiwan, in July- August 2000.


  • Chief Coordinator of All India Seminar for Photography, Chandigarh, 1987.
  • Chief Coordinator of All India Photography Competition in Chandigarh Festival, 1987.
  • Coordinator of All India Seminar on Art & Culture, Chail, Himachal Pradesh, India 1987.


  • “From Mustard Fields to Disco Lights: Folk Music and Musical Instruments of Punjab” by Dr. Alka Pande, photographs by Diwan Manna, published by MAPINS.


  • Chief Photographer for Apna Utsav (an all-India cultural extravaganza having approximately 5,000 artists as participants) for NZCC at New Delhi, 1986.
  • Photographic documentation of life, handicrafts, costumes, jewelry, food and architecture in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for NZCC, 1986-91.
  • Chief Photographer for Apna Utsav for NZCC at Mumbai (Bombay), 1990.
  • Photographic documentation of Indian classical music and dance concerts for NZCC, 1989-91.
  • Photographic documentation of Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan (117 year old Classical Music Festival) at Jalandhar, 1990-92.
  • Photographic documentation of folk theatre forms of North India, 1989-92.
  • Photographic documentation of folk music forms and musical instruments of North India, 1989-92.
  • Photographic documentation of rare folk music instruments and their players in Punjab for a coffee-table book and a traveling exhibition, 1998-99.

Television And Theatre:

  • Researched, scripted and presented a TV documentary on painter Raj Jain for Doordarshan, 1986.
  • Directed and acted in street plays and TV plays, 1978-82.
  • Acted in a film “Disturbed Area” made by Khwaja Ahmed Abbas and Imtiaz Khan, based on a play directed by Gurcharan Channi, 1978-79.
  • Participated in a theatre workshop on Body Language conducted by Badal S-ircar, 1979.
  • Co-directed and scripted a street play “Satta Ke Jangal” with Navtej Singh Johar (Indian classical dancer), 1982.

Diwan Manna is Director Triennale India, Lalit Kala Akademi (National Academy of Art) New Delhi (since May 2014)

He is former Chairman, Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi (17 June 2008 - 31 July 2015)
# 2173, Sector 15C, Chandigarh 160 015, , India


Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi

Rani laxmi Bai Bhawan 2nd floor opposite
Gurudwara sahib sector 38-c Near fire station

City Chandigarh


Phone: 0172-2686422

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