Through photography, Sikka creates the possibilities for observation, recollection, close comparison, and collaboration, and gives this long-term project a title that both describes and belies its substance.
‘The Sapper’ is an entitling that offers up a cue for the viewer: an explanation of the circumstances, behaviors and predilections that we can read into the portrayal of this former “sapper” of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers. It suggests a double-edged understanding of this father—the push and pull of his sense of selfhood—as both held in his public, now-historical role, and despite of it.
The title could be read as holding its subject at an observable distance and implies, perhaps, the urge of an adult child to adopt a vantage point of parity from which to see their father as another adult.
It gestures towards the idea of photography as an act of inherent scrutiny and of pinpointing and fixing its ostensible and complicated subject.