From 1970 to 1972, soon after her studies in Bombay, Malani undertook what she refers to as ‘the university of my life’ in Paris. There she experienced political and intellectual engagements in an intensely international setting following the ferment of the 1968 student demonstrations. Political science, film studies, feminist theory and postcolonial theory were at the fore.

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Intestines of the Machine Age, 1970/2018, Paris, France; printed Shanghai, China, digital print, 52.0 x 61.0 cm; Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

She soon began making photographic collages at the photo club of the Cité Internationale Universitaire. The solarised photographs Intestines of the Machine Age and Le Chemin de Fer, made in 1970, reflect the political turmoil of the time.

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Le Chemin de Fer, 1970/2018, Paris, France; printed Shanghai, China, digital print, 61.0 x 52.0 cm; Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.

The diptych Les Manifestations – Paris specifically portrays street protesters and uniformed police in public conflict.

Nalini Malani, India, born 1946, Les Manifestations – Paris, 1970/2018, Paris, France; printed Shanghai, China, two digital prints, 33.0 x 39.5 cm (a), 39.5 x 33.0 cm (b); Gift of an anonymous donor through the Art Gallery of South Australia Contemporary Collectors 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Nalini Malani.