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Jayanti Seiler

June 11 – September 21, 2014
Exhibition Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Wednesday, June 11, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Untitled, 2013 by Jayanti Seiler
"...these disparities are woven into the fabric of the photographs, calling attention to undefined slippery boundaries of displaced intentions and notions of adoration, escape, capture, release, and conservation." - Jayanti Seiler

Faculty Focus exhibitions present photographic works from faculty of the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies, a joint enterprise of the photography programs at Daytona State College, the University of Central Florida (Daytona Campus) and the Southeast Museum of Photography. This year's Daytona State College faculty spotlight is photography professor Jayanti Seiler and her most recent body of work titled “Of One and The Other.”


In these photographs, dichotomous and complex relationships between people and animals are explored through found and constructed human-animal encounters. They are a call to revere the natural world while living in a modern one in which the two realms often conflict. As participant, observer and storyteller, I spent time among people and animals on ‘the border’ at wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers, 4-H club animal auctions, domestic and exotic animal shelters, wildlife sanctuaries, taxidermy shops, traveling circuses and encounters for profit. I was immersed in both the commonalities and conflicts of interest between these neighboring groups. I found various notions of romantic idealism used to rationalize efforts to coexist harmoniously, but also control, consume and rule. The images are performances that reconcile intentions with these dissonant motivations.

"The capturers become the captured as they are bound by their commitments to preserve and protect. Conflict is found again in efforts to remain at a distance, pictured as not only humane but also essential to survival and conservation in the world of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Others blatantly bridge that gap and sell encounters with big cats under the same guise." - Jayanti Seiler
Untitled, 2013 by Jayanti Seiler

The love and tenderness of the child who raises an animal from birth, who then must find the courage to send it to slaughter and begin the process again; the altruism of individuals who dedicate their lives to preserving the health of debilitated wild animals that otherwise would have been euthanized; the care the taxidermist takes when meticulously crafting keepsakes from hunted animals; big cats purchased as cubs, raised in captivity and discarded, live out their lives in captivity; these disparities are woven into the fabric of the photographs, calling attention to undefined slippery boundaries of displaced intentions and notions of adoration, escape, capture, release, and conservation. “Of One and The Other” is an acknowledgment of the myriad contradictions, the questionable and complex borderlands of modern life and wild nature. I portray, that irrespective of our own biases, within every interaction and encounter, there deserves to be further understanding of our obligations and impact. This body of work seeks to inspire consideration of the complexity and depth found in the relationships between animals and people from all points along a spectrum that spans the chasm from lifesaving to exploitation.


Jayanti Seiler is a photographer, video artist and Assistant Professor at the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies, School of Photography at Daytona State College in Florida. Seiler's art weaves activism, the constructed photograph, an acknowledgment of the photographic agenda, and collaboration to infuse her subject matter with a new level of sensitivity. She seeks to raise awareness regarding our human relationships and interactions with fellow inhabitants of this planet who are unable to speak for themselves. Her long term participation in wildlife rehabilitation and contributions to animal rights activism have inspired her current and ongoing initiatives.

Seiler presented her series, “Clemency Raptor”, featuring a vignette of life for birds of prey while in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers at the 2013 Society for Photographic Education Southeast Regional Conference. In 2010, Seiler became a Guardian ad Litem (GAL), a court appointed advocate representing children's rights in the foster care system in Alachua County. Her experiences led to the experimental documentary and installation,“Docket”, featuring monologues of former foster care children and GAL volunteers to heighten awareness about abuses frequently occurring in the child welfare system. The short film was screened at the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida and the Alachua County Partnership for Strong Families. The corresponding video installation was exhibited at the University Gallery in Gainesville Florida. Seiler’s work has been exhibited nationally including Harvard University, Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, Washington State University, and the Florida Consortium of Art Schools.

Seiler received her Master of Fine Arts Degree in 2011. Upon acceptance she was granted a fellowship to study photography and work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Florida School of Art and Art History graduate program. She was the sole recipient of this award and she earned the Dennis and Colette Campay Scholarship. Prior to receiving her MFA, Seiler designed and taught courses at the Ringling College of Art & Design Continuing Studies and Special Programs Department, while working as a commercial photographer and a Professionally Certified Arts Educator. Seiler earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000, where she received the T.C. Colley Award and Scholarship and went on to photograph at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for the Digital Design Collection Andrew W. Mellon Project.

All photographs are Archival Pigment Prints.

Click here for more information about the artist.

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Untitled, 2013 by Jayanti Seiler Untitled, 2013 by Jayanti Seiler Untitled, 2013 by Jayanti Seiler

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Exhibitions and programs at the Southeast Museum of Photography are supported in part by Daytona State College, Volusia ECHO and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on the Arts.

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