Photography and Beyond

YEAR-LONG EXHIBITION SERIES

Photography, has now become an all pervading medium and has replaced ‘memory’ to a large extent. Artists predominantly use and refer photographs for their art works. In performance art and other site specific art events, most often still and movie images alone remain as a memory and evidence of the event. These photographs of art works become art by in itself, viewed and interpreted in accordance to the onlooker.

EtP (Ekalokam Trust for Photography) has organised this year-long exhibition series at Kalai Illam, the village space for art established at Tiruvannamalai. EtP intends to unearth the profound connection between photography and other art forms. EtP has initiated this non-commercial exhibition series to showcase contemporary art among the resident rural Indian population and the floating urban and international tourists who frequent this town.

The first of the series was a solo show of Ganeshbabu Chembayil titled ‘on THE ROAD’ and was open for public from 15th June till 3rd August 2014.

“on THE ROAD”

on THE ROAD / Image (C) Panneer Selvam / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Image (C) Panneer Selvam / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Image (C) Panneer Selvam / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Image (C) Panneer Selvam / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives

In this unique work, Ganeshbabu expressed his own journey and memories mixing photographs, texts, drawings etc., directly applied on the 1500 sq.ft wall space at ‘kalai Illam’. This non-commercial ‘auto-portrait of an artist’ challenges the current art market norms and its practices. The show was inaugurated by noted Tamil short story writer Sri BavaChellathurai; Sri J. Jayaraman, Librarian, Sri Ramana Ashram; Sri Kulanthaivel, Vice Chairman, EtP; Smt. Shylaja Chellathurai, Publisher, Vamsi Books; and Sri Wendel Field, American artist who lives in Tiruvannamalai for the past 14 years. The show was open for public till 3rd August 2014.

A BRIEF ABOUT THE ARTIST

on THE ROAD / Image (C) Panneer Selvam / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Image (C) Panneer Selvam / EtP Archives

Ganeshbabu Chembayil is a self-taught artist from South India. He lives between India and France. He draws from the recollection of images from his own experiences. He finds it more challenging and exhilarating a task as it involves extracting beauty from reality. Art for him is far from academic enterprise. He says, “Due to its ability to express every sensation of beatitude and sweetness or ugliness and bitterness, art shares a borderline with poetry, music and human history. I think artists who tread on long strides to distant horizon, play the music of Life. An artist can imitate a horizontal line and an ascending or descending vertical line, without losing its breath, or plunge steeply down to hell with velocity……., and that can make a series of superimposed angles”.

IMAGES FROM ‘on THE ROAD’

on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Instagram Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
on THE ROAD / Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives

R E A L I T Y in 40 D A Z E

Commentary on ‘on THE ROAD’ show BY J JAYARAMAN

J Jayaraman, Librarian, Sri Ramana Ashram, Tiruvannamalai, and Project 365 photographer, had been observing the work of Ganeshbabu Chembayil since the start of the artist’s yajna: “on THE ROAD”, and his inspired comments are below:

This would be a ‘real-time commentary’ on the ma-chic-all “gam” passage through this amazing artist’s providential 40-day [jai-simha Lent!] to EtP Archives.

“Walking into EtP’s Kalai Illam’s central hall but a few months ago, I  bumped into this Indian artist relocated from France. And froze in Tiruvannamalai.  At first glance, that day at the central hall… which till the day earlier had sported an august bareness of pellucid white walls. In short, I wondered if I saw Ganeshbabu-ji intent on a boxed-in mass ack-err?

But then it didn’t take long for the musician in the artist in me,

To resonate with the wise “Vice ‘ware’ ” e’er I’d see

Ganeshji’s artistry in an overture played out in deft strokes of a ‘conduit’ terra free

You’ll agree as we

Walk through Chembayil you as I could see…..

A ‘vaak’ [speech] through an artist doing the Blues in many a bold  bar.
It is a popular misconception that the Cartesian dicta  “cogito ergo sum” are

Meant to mean: “I think I know

“My self as thought; and so

I exist only by virtue of

The occurrence of a thinking ‘op’! ” ?

Nop(e), and I hasten to explain correctly [according to me], Descartes  meant “I cogitate, I brood upon, I con-template self in images. I question. I stand apart as the QUEST’shunner. Therefore I AM [be-ing is] the background”.

A theme more logically says “cogitating” is king to ‘thinking’ a mere vassal.

Ganeshbabu’s tapestry of boxed in images weaves a magic of time past and ahead, revisited in a deja vu that spoke to me:

[1]

“I am the Sabha, the hall that holds

The Image. The Being, a sabhaaShe unfolds

Itself the witnessing.

The Peace as blessing

ItsSelf blissing”.

A perambulation of the ” ‘Kurukshetra” [doership-field] a few days later revealed

the folloWing flashes of fLight…..

What do we see?

In-sigh’t spree!

Dr. Richard Harris’ Adult and Parent and Child ack’hey?’types (defined through his classic “I’m OK You’re OK” of the 1960s) peep out through every ‘adult’ zoOm; a few are quoted below .

[3]

“Pleasure [activity of thought: vritti] is dictated solely by the presence of desire.”
“sah akaamayata: “ekah aham; bahusyaama!” = THAT [transcendence] DESIRED: “I am one; [= and so, to ‘become’ MANY, let me find out what could be there at all capable, of being desired and attainable <itals follow>a priori, given MY unique circum-stance! ] [thus in endemic lila…] ” I ‘become’ MAN’eye’ !” °°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

[4]

“Beware of the Image”
The mind is the camera.
With calm-era mind =the 1st phenomenon,
The capture of no’icing’ is prime here! The signal-noise tossup between fore and back ground witnessed’.

And then interpreted without angst‘d dead doubt….

“Not all madness is of artistic interest.”

[5]

“To Love is but the desire to be loved.”
That sounded deep indeed.
But the response from the wizened ‘in’ to the same from the road ahead was:
To receive love on another’s terms is but the (ab initio and preeminently cached), desire to be loved back likewise.

[7]

“No body can [intend to] dress innocently.”

[8]

Apropos the Boar ‘Star’ avataar at traffic junkshuns….

“Vaaraaha waa(r) indha whirled-ai kaa?” (tam. = Varaaha avatar do manifest to ease trafficKing jam?)

[9]

“adhyaa-‘rope’ apavaada” does point to the retraction [= apavaada], of the snake-error superimposed “[“falsely seen as true”= “adhyaaropa”] in place of a rope actually ‘there’.

I congratulate my friend and fellow artist Ganesh on his firm laconic confident presentation of nature in Her spatial and temporal cyclic curves, and by jove the mystic insides calm’moun’ to all.

“Such a journey transforms the earth into a ‘mine’ of gold.”

Ekalokam Trust’s project under their PHOTOGRAPHY & BEYOND series, to release miniature sketch note-books punctuated by a selection of photos serving various themes,  now with ON THE ROAD, kicks off reverberating from Arunachala “sonagiri” the hill of gold.

Auvoir ‘on THE ROAD’

The show was concluded on 3rd August and this opening show of the year-long exhibition series ‘Photography and beyond’ was viewed and enjoyed by several people. The success of the show is in the level of enjoyment the rural audience had… the sounds of children running around the small rooms of Kalai Illam shouting, “this is my favorite…” , “Look, this is what I like…” continue to linger. There have been visitors who were amazed at the first sight and then spent hours looking and re-looking the paintings, enjoying and grasping every bit of the story the painting had to reveal.  One elderly visitor became quite silent… and stirring after two hours, whispered to us, “I am now flooded with memories of my own journey… I remember my childhood…..it is as if the artist has peeped into my own past and has created these paintings…”. 

Auvoir on THE ROAD / Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
Auvoir on THE ROAD / Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives

On 4th August 2014, the painted walls were washed off…. However, these walls continue to proudly hold the heartening memories and life experiences artistically shared by the artist Ganeshbabu Chembayil…. The journey of Ganeshbabu chembayil from a remote village in Kerala to our ancient town, traversing several places, countries, embracing memorable happy and sad moments has now become a hidden part of these walls…

Auvoir on THE ROAD / Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
Auvoir on THE ROAD / Image by Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives

Not only the walls and our beloved art lovers, the photographs made of the show will also keep the memory of this unique exhibition alive…  EtP has extensively documented the paintings. Chennai based Project 365 photographer Panneer Selvam helped EtP to photo-document the entire show. Ganeshbabu chembayil plans to continue the ‘on THE ROAD’ show by further working on the photographs of the paintings… EtP plans to publish a book. In all likelihood, these fragments from ‘on THE ROAD’ show will be exhibited in other parts of our country… 

on THE ROAD continue to remain alive due to the photographs. This is the beauty, strength and profundity of the photography medium. 

Thank you. 

Disclaimer: All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to EtP 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 / ekalokam@gmail.com

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