Taking photo-art to rural india

Art events in contemporary India often get diluted into art houses and galleries that are situated in urban settings. The larger rural audience is often excluded from contemporary art initiatives. Even the most modern and democratic medium like photography, which has the inherent quality to express art to public in a simple, honest, everyday manner, is being capitalized. A prolonged effort is required to re-inculcate the interest of rural public in contemporary art. Taking art to rural India and rejuvenating traditional analog medium is the vision behind EtP’s Project 365.

EtP is set-up in the outskirts of Tiruvannamalai town, amidst rural settings. EtP has established Kalai Illam, a village space for art and organises several events targeted to attract the rural population. Week end ‘meet the artist’ gatherings, establishing photo-art clubs and organizing outreach photo presentations / art activities in schools and colleges; initiating poster campaigns; conducting photography and art workshops / seminars; ‘photography and beyond’ – year-long exhibition series, etc. are few of the activities under taken as part of Project 365. Due to this regular interaction, the public is getting interested in contemporary photography and art practices. Slowly and steadily, the number of people enjoying the exhibitions and participating in the week-end interactions is increasing.

19th October 2014, meet-the-artist event was organised. The special guest for the event was Sri. R. R. Srinivasan, photographer and activist. He presented his body of photographic works. R.R. Srinivasan has been actively involved in film appreciation movement in Tamil Nadu through film society movement and alternative film journals. He emerged from Kanchanai film society in Thirunelveli. Kanchanai film society has played a key role in bringing serious cinema to a non-metropolitan audience. He guest lecturers on film, literature and photography in universities and colleges. He has directed and produced several documentary movies on social issues including 28 documentary films on folk art tradition of Tamil Nadu. He has done several television interviews on artists and writers. His photographs have been exhibited n different parts of Tamil Nadu. He has published a photo book on Narikoravas, nomadic tribes of India. RR is one of the leading photographers in Project 365

'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan and American artist Wendel Field / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan and American artist Wendel Field / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

Meet the artist event has been regularly organised at Kalai Illam. On 12th October 2014, Project 365 photographer Bhagyashri Patki presented her works followed by a video documentary on Indian photographers Sunil Janah, Sohrab Hura and Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado.On 5th October 2014, Photographer Shiv Kiran presented his works followed by video documentary French Photographer Henry Cartier-Bresson who had visited Tiruvannamalai during the 1950s.

Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki presenting her works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki presenting her works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
The audience / Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki presenting her works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
The audience / Meet Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki  / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran presenting his works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran presenting his works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran presenting his works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran presenting his works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives

This rural space is growing to be a place where artists, art lovers, art enthusiasts and public gather and celebrate art. Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad says, “We come from a lineage that properly knows that art is a symbol of our culture, and, therefore, has to be owned and protected by people. Join us in this effort to take art to Rural India”.

Thank you.

Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi

Project 365 Manager

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.”

Disclaimer: Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text (C) 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

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