Mala launched her professional career in Photography in 1986. Her work has appeared in India in many papers and periodicals such as Swagat, Desh, Discover India, Frontline, Insight Guide, Indian Express, Inner Eye, Namaste, Sananda, Signature, Sportstar, Times of India etc., and also in London in the BBC Bulletin, The Cricketer and the India Weekly Journal; in ‘Close Up’ sports magazine in Australia and in tourist guide titled ‘Indien’ in Germany, and also on covers of books such as ‘Ticket to Minto’ by S.H Fracis ( University of Iowa Press 2001), ‘Vinegar Sunday’ by Kankana Basu (Indialog Publications, 2004) and on ‘Border’s Battles’ ( Affirm Place, Melbourne, 2019) by Michael Sexton.
She has with Ms Jael Silliman jointly authored two books, one on Kolkata’s religious heritage titled ‘Where Gods Reside’ ( Niogi Books, New Delhi, 2018) and another on the city’s intellectual heritage titled ‘Adda – the College Street Coffee House” (Notion Press, Chennai, 2020).
She taught Photography at The School, KFI, Chennai, during 1986/1989. In 1993 she graduated in Applied Art and Design Studies at the London Guildhall University where she was awarded the Art Prize by the Owen Rowley Art Foundation in 1993. She was also among prize winners in ‘Our Big City’ competition organized by the Evening Standard Newspaper Group and Carlton TV in London in October 1993. In 1994 she was nominated for the Leopold Godowsky Jr. colour photography Awards of the Photographic Resource Centre, Boston. In January 2007, The Academy of Visual Media, New Delhi, awarded Mala their “Achievement Award” for outstanding contribution to Photography. She received an award at the Second China International Digital Photography Exhibition in 2011 and was the recipient of Honorary Fellowship of the Bangladesh Photographic Society in 2014.
In 2002 BLINK, a publication by the Phaidon Press, London, featured her among 100 contemporary Photographers of the world. Mala has conducted Workshops on Colour Photography at Dhaka and Sylhet in 2003 at the invitation of Drik, Bangladesh. In 2006 she visited China at the invitation of the Peoples’ Republic of China to participate in a photo event titled “Xinjiang in the eyes of Chinese and Foreign photographers”, and again in 2011 in Lishui to participate in Seminars and exhibitions organized by the China International Photographic Gallery Alliance, of which she is a member.
Mala has held Solo exhibitions at : Cottons Centre London 1991&1992, St.Giles Church Oxford 1993, Sakshi Gallery Bangalore 1994, Y.B.Chavan Art Gallery Mumbai 1995, B.C.D.Gallery-Mumbai 1995, Sakshi Gallery Chennai 1995, Birla Academy Art Gallery Kolkata 1995, Nehru Centre Art Gallery Mumbai 1995, The Piramal Gallery Mumbai 1996,Lalit Kala Akademi New Delhi 1997, IIC Gallery New Delhi 1998, Lalit Kala Akademi Chennai 1999, Nehru Centre Art Gallery Mumbai 1999, La galerie del’Alliance Française de Dhaka – Bangladesh 2000, Birla Academy ArtGallery Kolkata 2001, Academy of Fine Arts Kolkata, Gallerie Zen Bangalore 2002, Nandan Gallery Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan 2002, Academy of Fine arts Kolkata 2004, Gorky Sadan- Kolkata2004, Academy of Fine Arts Kolkata 2006, IIC Gallery New Delhi 2006, Apparao Infinity Gallery New Delhi 2007, Akar Prakar Gallery Kolkata 2007, Academy of Fine Arts Kolkata 2007, Nehru Centre Art Gallery Mumbai in 2008,Nandan Gallery Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan 2008 and Academy of Fine Art, Kolkata 2008, Festival Tinou, Tino's Island, Greece, August 2012 and Qinghai Int'l Photographic Art Festival, Xining, China, duets with a painter at Bengal Art Gallery, ICCR, Kolkata in January 2013 and Hirji Jehangir Gallery, Mumbai in Februay 2013, and a solo show at the India International Centre, Delhi in April 2013; Apparao Gallery, Chennai, February 2015, Dakhshinachitra, Chennai, August 2015, Ramsay Arts Festival, Cambridge, UK, September 2015, Maya Arts Space, Kolkata, September 2015, at Lishui Photography Festival, China in November 2015 and at Wonderwall Gallery, Lado Sarai, New Delhi in September 2016, and at the MKF Museum, Bangalore in June 2019..
Apart from several Group Shows in London during 1991/1993, Mala took part in “Women ’96”, an Art Front Group show at the Jehangir Art Gallery Mumbai and in Group exhibitions at the Nehru Centre Art Gallery Mumbai1997, Y.B. Chavan Art Gallery Mumbai 1998, Academy of Fine Arts Calcutta 2001, Guildhall University London 2001,Cancer Foundation exhibition at Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata 2005, ‘Kolkata Festival’ of Times of India at Town Hall Kolkata 2006, AVM Photography Award 2006 at the AIFACS, New Delhi and in exhibitions organized by the Chinese Embassy in 2007 at the Birla Academy Art Gallery, Kolkata & at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, in “The Four Seasons in Xinjiang Photo Exhibition” organised by The Chinese Photographic Association in Beijing in March 2007 and at Birla Academy Art Gallery in April 2009,‘Urban India through the lens” at Habitat Centre in Sept 2009, International Artists Exhibition, Jakarta, Indonesia in 2010, the 44th Annual Exhibition at Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata in January 2011, International exhibition titled “One Nest” at Birla Academy of Art and Culture in October2011 which she also organized and curated, Photography Museum of China at Lishui in November 2011, Piramal Gallery, NCPA, Mumbai and Boichitra Gallery, Kolkata, in January 2012, Kala Ghoda Art Festival at Mumbai in February 2012 and Masters of Indian Photography Exhibition at NCPA, Mumbai, Kolkata Photo Festival at ICCR, Kolkata and at Lishui Photography Museum, Lishui, China in 2013, at Soi Mela-Boi Mela at ICCR Kolkata, November 2013, at Maya Art Space, Kolkata 2013, at the IPMGA international photo festival at ICCR Kolkata 2014, at Wonderwall Gallery, Lado Sarai, New Delhi in October 2015; in October 2016 at the Festival of Arts organized by the India International Centre, New Delhi and at the India Art Fair, New Delhi, in December 2016; as a selected exhibitor at Lens Mens International Fotofestival, Overpelt, Belgium in August 2017, at “50-50 Photography” show at Birla Art Gallery, Kolkata in October 2017, at the Lishui International Photography Art Festival, China, in November 2017, and at the India Art Fair, Delhi, in December 2017; at the Hindustan Times Imagine Fest in March 2018 at the Nehru Gardens, New Delhi, the India Art Fair in 2018, the Kolkata International Photo Festival in 2019, Academy of Creative Art, Kolkata in August 2019 and Lishui International Photo Festival ( China) in November 2019, in 2020 in Maya Art Space, Kolkata and at the Delhi Art Fair, and in January 2021 at Maya Art Fair, Kolkata and at The Art Platform (TAP) India online exhibition.
AS CURATOR AND ORGANIZER
Mala was the Chairperson of the 2nd Congress of the International Photographic Museum and Gallery Alliance (IPMGA) which organized an international photo exhibition in February 2014 in Kolkata. She led a team of 5 photographers to a trip to Yunnan province and held a show of their work at Birla Academy Art Gallery in March 2015 sponsored by the Consulate General of PRC, Kolkata. In May 2016 she led another team of 3 photographers to Beijing and Mount Jiahua Shan in Anhui province in China, also sponsored by Consulate General of PRC in Kolkata.
Her work has been acquired by many Institutional collectors such as : Alliance Française de Dhaka, Archives of Centre For Photography As An Art Form at NCPA Mumbai, Archives of Metropolitan University London, India International Centre, New Delhi, JBNSTS, Kolkata and by Corporate bodies such as ABN Amro Bank Mumbai, Alliance Capital Inc, New York, Apcon Ltd Chennai, Carborandum Universal, Chennai, Delhi Development Authority, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, ICI Ltd Mumbai, ICICI Bank, Indian Oil Corpn. Kolkata, Office of the C & A.G New Delhi, Ministry of External Affairs New Delhi, Quality Audit & Services, Kolkata, Standard Chartered Bank Mumbai,Wooltop Weaves Pte Ltd., Chennai and by Louis Vuitton, New Delhi.