Director’s anecdote

The Silver Chariot

Silver Chariot / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC archives
Silver Chariot / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC archives

The chariot is a type of carriage using horses. Chariots figure prominently in the Rigveda, evidencing their presence in India since the 2nd millennium BC. Chariots are often used during temple festivals, marriage functions etc., This particular silver chariot is specially designed for marriage ceremony. The culture of wedding procession in chariots is fast vanishing. In Tiruvannamalai, even now many a marriage functions include a procession of the married couple in chariots pulled by horses.

Visual anecdotes of Project 365 activities and the Tiruvannamalai town by photographer Abul Kalam Azad.

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text research Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 /ekalokam@gmail.com / FACEBOOK – Project 365

Abul Kalam Azad – Director Project 365

Abul Kalam Azad / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Abul Kalam Azad / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives

Renowned photographer Abul Kalam Azad a.k.a. AKA is the visionary behind Project 365. AKA is one of the foremost exponents of art-photography in India. His works are widely exhibited in India and abroad. AKA has a decade of experience as a photo-journalist with Press Trust India and other prominent newspaper agencies and magazines. He also received the prestigious Charles Wallace Award (fellowship 1995), UK and studied photography in the Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College. He left the promising Photojournalism|photo-journalist career to follow his passion ‘photography’. In the year 2000, AKA set up an art studio ‘Mayalokam’ in the inspiring labyrinth of ancient warehouses, situated between the Bazaar Road and the Harbour front, Fort Cochin. Soon, Mayalokam studio became a cultural hub for local, national and international artists and enthusiasts in various disciplines. Eventually, Mayalokam became ‘Mayalokam Art Collective’ to include other artists. AKA had been a frequent to Tiruvannamalai since mid 1990s and in the year 2010, Azad moved permanently to Tiruvannamalai. He is one of the founders of EtP, a Trust dedicated to conserving, archiving and protecting contemporary photography. He is also the recipient of senior fellowship (2012 – 2013) from Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

It is AKA’s vision to initiate collective projects to document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle. He says, “Art is a symbol of our culture and, therefore has to be owned and protected by the people. Contemporary art initiatives must also include the rural people. Project 365 aims at encouraging public ownership of contemporary photography art as well as popularizing the traditional mediums and platforms”.

To this purpose, AKA will be taking visual anecdotes of Project 365 activities and the Tiruvannamalai town through out the project period. Selected few of this series will also be exhibited during the grand exhibition.

Disclaimer: All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to Project 365 PUBLIC archives. Prior permission is required to reproduce and / or and / or print in any form. 

If you need more information contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405

Day 1

P.R.O.J.E.C.T 365

A year-long photomapping of Tiruvannamalai

D.A.Y.  1

“365 NIGHTS AND DAYS” in Tiruvannamalai by photographer Shiv Kiran

Day one / "365 days and nights in Tiruvannamalai" / Image (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 Archives
Day one / “365 days and nights in Tiruvannamalai” / Image (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 Archives

Photographer Shiv Kiran will be photographing “365 NIGHTS AND DAYS” in Tiruvannamalai using both traditional analog and modern digital medium. Shiv’s interest is multi-folded and includes distant horizons, found objects, every-day ordinary life events etc., He plans to shoot during the night as well morning and present the diversified facets of our ancient town. 

“LIFE OF A LIBRARIAN” by photographer J Jayaraman

Day one / Life of a librarian / Image (C) J Jayaraman / Project 365 archives
Day one / Life of a librarian / Image (C) J Jayaraman / Project 365 archives
JJ Jayaraman, Librarian, Sri Ramana Ashram and a resident of the ashram is documenting ‘his daily life’ using SMART PHONE as part of Project 365. The vibrant scene of the ashram, the animals, the life of inmates, the visiting people etc., will be documented as part of this project titled “LIFE OF A LIBRARIAN”.

 “PHOTO SEVA” by photographer Varun Gupta

Day one / Photo Seva / Image (C) Varun Gupta / Project 365 Archives
Day one / Photo Seva / Image (C) Varun Gupta / Project 365 Archives

Photographer Varun Gupta will be continuing his “photo seva” as part of Project 365. He will be taking Polaroid images of the people visiting Tiruvannamalai. As a gesture of gratitude, he will be gifting them digital images. During Samarambam on August 2014, he started his photo seva in Tiruvannamalai by photographing project 365 team.

For more information about this project, contact EtP at ekalokam@gmail.com / {0} 94879 56405 / {0} 4175 237405

Disclaimer: All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to Project 365 PUBLIC archives. Prior permission is required to reproduce and / or and / or print in any form. 

Project 365 – SAMARAMBAM

15th August 2014

Project 365 began on 15th August 2014 at Kalai Illam, Tiruvannamalai. Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad inaugurated the project by lighting the lamp. Project 365 photographers Bhagyashri Patki, Panneer Selvam, J Jayaraman and Ami Gupta lighted the lamp.

Director Abul Kalam Azad lighting lamp / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Director Abul Kalam Azad lighting lamp; Photographers Yannick Cormier and Iqbal MK / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives

 

Project 365 photographer Bhagyashri Patki lighting lamp;  Behind Photographer Iqbal MK and Manager Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographer Bhagyashri Patki lighting lamp; Behind Photographer Iqbal MK and Manager Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives

Project 365 manager Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi welcomed the gathering. The team proceeded to discuss and collectively evolve the Project 365 MoU. Photographers Anurag Sharma, Ami Gupta, Seema Krishnakumar, J Jayaraman, Sudha Shunmugam, Varun Gupta, Iqbal MK, Maveeran Somasundaram, Panneer Selvam, Leo James, Bhaygashri Patki, Jiby Charles, Shiv Kiran, Arnav Rastogi and Bharathiaraja were present. Leading photographer Yannick Carmier was also present during the Samarambam. PRoject 365 ART co-ordinator and camp officer Ganeshbabu Chembayil was also present during the Samarambam. 

The Team during the Samarambam /  (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
The Team during the Samarambam / (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Anurag Sharma and Seema Krishnakumar during the Samarambam / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Anurag Sharma and Seema Krishnakumar during the Samarambam / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
EtP gifting signed Miniature Photography notebooks to the Team /  Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
EtP gifting signed Miniature Photography notebooks to the Team / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Director AKA addressing the Team / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Director AKA addressing the Team / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives

Leading playback singer and music composer dedicated a song to the gathered Project 365 photographers.

Popular playback singer and music composer Shahabaz Aman during the Samarambam / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Popular playback singer and music composer Shahabaz Aman during the Samarambam / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives

The evening gathering was organised at Project 365 camp, Tiruvannamalai. The team presented their earlier works and proposed Project 365 concept. The public who had gathered also enjoyed this presentation. 

Photographer JJ presenting to the team and public / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Photographer JJ presenting to the team and public / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Photographer Varun Gupta  presenting to the team and public / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Photographer Varun Gupta presenting to the team and public / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Samarambam - presentation by 365 team / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Samarambam – presentation by 365 team / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives

The open air performance and dinner had to quickly re-arranged inside the camp house due to the sudden down pour. Although it did change the original plan, the rain to the dry Agni Shylam is indeed a grand blessing and it is an honor to begin Project 365 amidst the showers.

 

The team and public during the presentation /  Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
The team and public during the presentation / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives

The small space added to the intimate feeling of the Gazal night with Shahabaz Aman and the performance lasted about an hour. Noted Tamil short story writer Bava Chelladurai was present and interacted with the Project 365 photographers.

Gazal night with popular playback singer and music compower Shahabaz Aman during the Samarambam / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives
Gazal night with popular playback singer and music compower Shahabaz Aman during the Samarambam / Image (C) Leo James / EtP Archives

The year-long PUBLIC PHOTO ART project is well begun. Thank you !!!

Project 365 Team

“Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365.”

Project 365 EtP Team

Abul Kalam Azad – Project Director; Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi – Project Manager; Ganeshbabu Chembayil – Coordinator & Camp officer; George Augustine Thundiparambil – Editor in Chief

Project 365 Photographers

The town will be documented by leading contemporary photographers Sri Aditya Arya, Sri Alex Fernandes, Sri Dinesh Khanna, Sri Pa. Madhavan, Sri Ram Rahman, Sri Ramesh Varma, Sri Ramu Aravindan, Sri Sadanand Menon, Sri R.R. Srinivasan, Sri Thierry Cardon, Sri Waswo X. Waswo, Sri Yannick Cormier and twenty five upcoming photographers Ami Gupta, Anirudh Goel, Anjali Gopan, Anurag Sharma, Arnav Rastogi, BhagyashriPatki, Bharathiaraja R, Iqbal MK, J. Jayaraman, Jiby Charles, Leo James, MaveeranSomasundaram, PaneerSelvam, Pee Vee, Priyanka Kaur Oberoi, Ritesh R Uttamchandani, SeemaKrishnakumar, Selva Prakash Lakshmanan, Senthil Kumaran Rajendran, Shiv K, Sudha Shanmugam, Thiagarajan R, Udit Kulshrestha, Varun Gupta and Vinay DV over a one-year period.This will be conducted over a year-long period using diversified traditional analog and modern mediums, techniques, processes and mixed media approaches.

Topics

Urbanization, living spaces, mystical life of shepherds, Saiva tradition, Jainism, Sufism, Gender in Tamil culture, life in inner and outer path, ethnic lifestyle, life of ten working women, wildlife, the Hill, temples and shrines, caves and herbs, contemplating saints and wandering sadhus, life of children, ancient poems and contemporary life style, ancient and contemporary fashion, rituals and festivals, agriculture and farming; displacement; mythological concept of Agni; 365 nights and days in Tiruvannamalai; the inter-relation between religion, politics and cinema; home-makers, portraits of 15 prominent people of Tiruvannamalai and so on.

Networking partners

EtP has networked with “SPACES”, Chennai; “Aksgar” online magazine;“Goa-CAP”; “India Photo Archive”, Gurgaon; “Vamsi Books”, Tiruvannamalai; “Thalam”, Bangalore; “Kannadi”, Madurai; and Vetri digitals, Tiruvannamalai.

<to be continued>

PROJECT 365 – a 360degrees 365 days photo perambulation of the hill and the symbol

40 photographers document the ‘ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle’ in Tiruvannamalai
August 2014 – July 2015

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365. In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.”

Agni Shylam series / Image (C) AKA / Image courtesy EtP
Agni Shylam series / Image (C) AKA / Image courtesy EtP

TIRUVANNAMALAI – an ancient South Indian heritage town

Experiments done by the Geological Survey of India revealed that the rock (charnockite) which makes up the Arunachala hill in Tiruvannamalai is older than 3.5 billion years and believed to have formed as a result of massive volcanic eruption. The fertile land around the hill was a highly potential farming land and soon became an important human settlement in South India. Tiruvannamalai is considered to be older than Mathurai (2ndSangam circa 1st century BCE). Many a legend and mythical story of Saiva belief grew around this hill revered as Fire, one of the pancha bhootas (Earth Water Fire Wind and Space Elements).

The first recorded history of the town dates back to the ninth century CE, as seen from Chola inscriptions in the Arunachaleshwara temple which states that the present masonry structure of the ancient temple was built during the same period by the Chola Dynasty (from 850 CE to 1280 CE). The temple, one of the largest in India, is rich in tradition, history and festivals. Hundreds and thousands of small and big Chola period inscriptions, architecture, sculpture and mural art can be found around the whole town. Saint poets like Tirunavukarasar, Appar, Pattinathar and Ramana Maharishi have created historical literature about Tiruvannamalai, the temple and the hill. The town is largely associated with living traditions and beliefs that have been recorded in literary works of outstanding universal significance.

Agni Shylam series / Image (C) AKA / Image courtesy EtP Archive
Agni Shylam series / Image (C) AKA / Image courtesy EtP Archives

Apart from the Cholas, Tiruvannamalai was ruled by the Pallavas, Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar Empire, the Carnatic kingdom, Tipu Sultan and the British. The architecture and art created collectively by the artists’ guilds of yesteryears with the patronage of the perennially warring, but ever culturally united rulers, stand as a museum of our culture and art.

Agni Shylam series / Image (C) AKA / Image courtesy EtP Archive
Agni Shylam / Image (C) AKA / EtP Archives

Karthikai Deepam is the most popular festival of Tiruvannamalai and inscriptions indicate that the festival was celebrated as early as the Chola period (3rd to 13th century BCE). As part of the festival, a massive wick is lit in a cauldron, at the top of the Annamalai Hill and to mark the occasion, several thousand people from the neighbouring villages gather. The visually fantastic event also has vibrant village markets and cattle fairs that are increasingly becoming obsolete. Every month during full moon, several thousand pilgrims perambulate around the Arunachala Hill.

Acclaimed photographers like PRS Mani, Dr.T.N. Krishnaswamy, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eliot Elisofon, G Govind Welling and many other known, and unknown photographers have created several bodies of photography works of Tiruvannamalai. The invaluable few works of these eminent photographers are being archived and preserved by Sri Ramana Ashram, Tiruvannamalai.

Agni Shylam series / Image (C) AKA / Image courtesy EtP Archive
Agni Shylam series / Image (C) AKA / Image courtesy EtP Archives

A pre-existently rich photographic history is presented in recent visual capture technologies. It is also seen to be supported in richly graphic descriptions of Tiruvannamalai’s rich and unparalleled vibrantly alive culturally all-inclusive life. These, and the peculiarly protean genius flowering amidst rural setting, increasingly amenable to international audience encourages EtP to do this long overdue visual mapping and documenting in a contemporary hi-definition documentation of this primordial town. Project 365 – Tiruvannamalai will collectively create and preserve the visual history of the paradigm shift moment of this ancient town.

<to be continued>

Disclaimer: Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC archives. All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Profile of Shiv Kiran by Ami Gupta / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com / FACEBOOK – Project 365