Deepam, the festival of light

Karthikai Deepam, festival of lights is one of the oldest festivals celebrated by Tamil people. Deepam is observed in every home and every temple, and falls in the month of Kārttikai (mid-November to mid-December) as per Tamil Calender. This occurs on the day when the moon is in conjunction with the constellation Karthigai (Pleiades) and pournami (full moon). This constellation appears as a group of six stars in the firmament in the shape of a pendant from the ear. Many legends and lyrical poetry have grown round this star. The six stars are considered in Indian mythology as the six celestial nymphs who reared the six babies in the saravana tank which later were joined together to form the six faced Muruga. He is therefore called Karthikeya, the one brought up by the Karthigai nymphs. Houses and streets are lit up with rows of oil lamps (Deepam) in the evening of the festival day. One of the earliest references to the festival is found in the Ahananuru, a book of poems, which dates back to the Sangam Age (200 B.C. to 300 A.D.). The Ahananuru clearly states that Karthigai is celebrated on the full moon day (pournami) of the month of Karthigai, as per South Indian calendar. It was one of the most important festivals (peruvizha) of the ancient Tamils, including now the areas of modern Kerala too. Avaiyyar, the renowned poetess of those times, refers to the festival in her songs. Karthigai festival in Tiruvannamalai is very famous. On Karthigai day, a huge fire lamp is lit up on the hill, visible for several kilometers around. The fire (deepam) is called Mahadeepam.

This ancient Dravidian practice has been documented extensively in verse and visuals. The gods and goddesses, the rituals and chariots, the crowd and girivalam, every aspect of this festival has already been documented. Team 365 has another important vision, to preserve the visuals of the changing culture and lifestyle. Many may have noticed the ever changing scenario every deepam, the absence of the Mattu chanda (cow market), the advent of machine made drinks / coffees, ever growing new buildings and shops…. the visually exciting days and nights of Tiruvannamalai Deepam festival has a different dimension to be portrayed. Photography in essence is a play between light and shade (absence of light). This deep connection, the changing people, scenario and the colors of Deepam is what team 365 decided to capture. The team would be per-dominantly using iphone photography with instagram applications. Few photographs from the instagram Deepam series:

Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives

roject 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 by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi  / EtP. Profile by Ami Jangal / 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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‘The colors of Deepam’ by leading Project 365 photographer Dinesh Khanna

Karthigai festival in Tiruvannamalai hills is very famous. On Karthigai day, a huge fire lamp is lit up on the hill, visible for several kilometers around the hill. The fire (dheepam) is called Mahadeepam. As part of Project 365, Photographer Dinesh Khanna will be creating visuals of Tiruvannamalai Deepam Festival. A five member team, comprising of Project 365 photographers Arnav Rastogi, Bhagyashri Patki, Biju Ibrahim, Leo James and Shiv Kiran will be working with Dinesh Khanna and document the Deepam Festival.

Photographer Dinesh Khanna
Photographer Dinesh Khanna

Dinesh Khanna is one of the leading photographers of Project 365. He is based in Delhi. There are infinite ways of seeing. But when you see the world through Dinesh Khanna’s eyes, you are overcome with an innate sense of awe, besides many other emotions. The reason perhaps is the fact that he shoots from the heart. And it’s his incredible way of juxtaposing what he sees and what he feels that creates images that stay with you forever.

Even though his father was a professional photographer, Dinesh took his time to meander through his advertising career and eventually gave in to his true calling. His dad often urged him to use the camera, travel more often and take pictures of whatever he found interesting. He even grew up learning to make his own prints in the darkroom they had at home. But the rebel in him chose not to follow the conventional ‘son-takes-over-from-father’ routine simply because he felt it was against his principles to adhere to what the caste system followed, something he strongly did not believe in.

However, photography was not just in his blood, it was the one great love and passion of life he could no longer ignore. At first, Dinesh took up a lot of commercial work, which displayed his immense talent and creativity. Gradually, he began traveling more, exploring more, photographing everything that ‘engaged’ him and in the process, enjoying every moment of what he was doing. From Street photography, to portraits to interiors of homes and hotels, travel pictures, photo stories, editorial and food photography, Dinesh’s work spans a varied mix, with many a common aspect… a love for life, a love for colours and a love for people being a few.

His photographs radiate a powerful and positive resonance which is why we want to stop and stare. Not just to admire the sheer beauty of the image, but also to appreciate seeing things the way he sees them. It’s what you call ‘insight’ in advertising terms. For example his iphoto series on ‘kissakhursika’, is a series on chairs. A simple everyday object that we may not even give a second glance to. But the way Dinesh has interpreted this very khursi, as he takes us on a visual journey portraying the significance of the chairs common people sit on (be it watchmen or barbers or children) and the ironic symbolism of a ‘khursi’ in the political context is so basic yet so bold and captivating.

Dinesh’s ‘Incredible India’ series that was created to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Taj Mahal earned him much fame. So did his solo exhibitions and pictorial books ‘Bazaar’ and ‘Living Faith’ which were born from his many travels and beautifully captured images from various melas, markets and sacred sites in small towns and rural areas.

His works also include stunning portraits of “Artists, Musicians, and Writers” “Mothers & Daughters” and a series on common man at work called “Earning Dignity” which all capture expressions and emotions in a stark yet subtle manner. His photos have also been published in monthly columns like ‘Double Take’ and ‘Urban Trivia’ for First City magazine, which display India’s ironic ‘Tryst with Urbanity’ and also ‘Cellphone Diaries’ for Better Photography.

Dinesh is also the co-founder and managing trustee of the Nazar Foundation in Delhi, a non profit trust that promotes the art of photography through various workshops, interactions and exhibitions. Doing this is his way of sharing his passion with budding and even experienced photographers. This organization also sponsors the biennial ‘Delhi Photo Festival’ which is an incredible platform for photographers to showcase their works.

Dinesh Khanna has displayed his work at several solo and group exhibitions, nationally and internationally at The Habitat Center, India International Center, Palette Gallery, Vadehra Gallery, New Delhi, Oxford Gallery, Kolkata, NCPA, Mumbai, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York, The Asia Society, San Francisco, Mondavi Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, Whitechapel Gallery, London and at FotomuseumSwitzerland.
A few of his photographs were also recently featured in an exhibition of paintings titled Soul of Asia Art – an exhibition curated by Sushma Bahl as part of the 44th International Film Festival of India, Goa, 2013.

Based in New Delhi, Dinesh is currently working on his next pictorial book ‘Benaras: Everyday in Eternity’ apart from various other assignments. Whether he is taking pictures of martinis, majestic hotel suites, of a teenager on a terrace or bangles in a bazaar, his work exudes emotions that every viewer can relate to at a very simple level. And we look forward to more.

Dinesh will be reaching Tiruvannamalai on 30th November 2014. During his stay, he will also be presenting his works with our rural audience (the dates will be announced at a later stage). Thank you Dinesh Khanna, for being part of project 365 and visiting this ancient town.

WELCOME.

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 by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi Nadar / EtP. Profile by Ami Jangal / 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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Mukhamukham – Bangalore

Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photograph on the screen ‘Life in cycles’ by Biju Ibrahim / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

The next stop for traveling Mukhamukham, was the much favored garden city, Bangalore. THALAM, a partner of PROJECT 365 was organising the event at their space at Domlur on 15th November 2014. By that time, the project 365 team had different experience having met with diversified audience. The audience weekly presentations at Kalai Illam, were a mix of local rural audience, informed artists as well a few international visitors who were passing by this ancient town. Children from neighboring villages enthusiastically ask for and participate in the event. MUKHAMUKHAM – Tiruvannamalai by Vamsi books had a gathering of about hundred local audience, many of whom had seen photographic art presentation for the first time. Also, seeing photographs of their town, and oftentimes their own photographs was received enthusiastically. This is an important dimension of Project 365 and one of the project photographers Senthil Kumaran Rajendran mentioned during his presentation, “Photographs will be taken. Printed and then exhibited in urban galleries / art spaces or shown to the potential collectors, and sold or stored for selling…. photographs of rural India, often become exaggerated exotic presentation, created specifically to cater the needs of urban International buyers and audience…. Photographers never get an opportunity to show our photographs with our own people… the land in which the photographs were taken… the one who is photographed never knows what the photographer does with the photographs… But in project 365, photographs of a town are collectively taken, shared with the residents of the town, and more than that, the prints will eventually be exhibited and preserved by the public…That is the profoundness of this project that encouraged me to join this initiative. I am proud to be part of this vision.”

Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographer Selvaprakash Lakshmanan / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Pee Vee, Project 365 Photographer and co-founder of Thalam / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Shibu Arakkal, Photographer Biju Ibrahim also seen / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

The audience for MUKHAMUKHAM – Thrissur were art students, who had remained silent for the presentation to be completed and soon after which, long discussions were held one on one. Armed with this diversified exposure, the team was looking up for the upcoming event with the urban audience. Pee Vee, co-founder Thalam and Project 365 photographer had taken complete charge of the event, which also gave the team an opportunity to explore other galleries and art spaces. The intimate space of Thalam shared by forty photo enthusiasts was indeed ideal to fully present the vision of Project 365. Noted designer and Photographer Ramu Aravindan, one of the leading photographers of the project was present. Photographers Shibu Arakkal, Selvaprakash Lakshmanan, Arnav Rastogi, Biju Ibrahim, Iqbal MK, Bhagyashri Patki, Vinay DV, Pee Vee, Jiby Charles and Shiv Kiran presented their works and their journey as a photographer. The audience stayed back long after the event was over and engaged in lively conversation with the photographers. The team received enough energy to move on with the next MUKHAMUKHAM event to be held at Andhra Pradesh, thus covering the four modern states of tri-sangam period Tamilakam. Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad said, “A photographer is always behind the lens, and rarely do they get the opportunity to present and speak about their works, their life and journey as a photographer. Mukhamukham is a platform for the upcoming photographers to share their emotions and dreams, learn together and grow. Developing the culture of appreciating the life and works of a photographer is important aspect of this event. I am happy with the overwhelming response MUKHAMUKHAM event has been receiving. Many are approaching us to present MUKHAMUKHAM at their institution / space. We will somehow manage our time between proceeding with our shooting work in Tiruvannamalai and traveling to different parts of our country.”

Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Vinay DV / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographer Biju Ibrahim / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
The audience – Photographers Ramu Aravindan (second row left) Bhagyashri Patki, Iqbal MK, and Project 365 Manager Tulsi swarna lakshmi) / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Jiby Charles / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographer Iqbal MK / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

Mukhamukham covered by Bangalore mirror http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/others/Coming-face-to-face-with-near-extinct-techniques/articleshow/45153216.cms

Photo enthusiasts interacting with Photographer Ramu Aravindan / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Photo enthusiasts interacting with Photographer Ramu Aravindan / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Photo enthusiasts buying Project 365 merchandise / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Photo enthusiasts buying Project 365 merchandise / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Project 365 photographers Selvaprakash Lakshmanan (left) and Jiby Charles (right) / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographers Selvaprakash Lakshmanan (left) and Jiby Charles (right) / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographers Shibu Arakkal, Arnav Rastogi, Biju Ibrahim and Shiv Kiran / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographers Shibu Arakkal, Arnav Rastogi, Biju Ibrahim and Shiv Kiran / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives

If you are interested to host MUKHAMUKHAM at your institution /  art spaces / organisation, do contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com

Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi, Manager Project 365

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

Project 365 partners
Project 365 partners

MUKHAMUKHAM – Thrissur

“I already like the town”, said Project 365 photographer Shiv Kiran, as soon as we stepped down from the train. The other team members Arnav Rastogi and Bhagyashri Patki nodded their heads in affirmation. It was as if all the tiredness of the long journey from Tiruvannamalai to Thrissur had vanished by the mere sight of this ancient town. The following day 12th November 2014, Project 365 presentation was to be held at Government Fine arts college, Thrissur. This event is all the more important for EtP, as the next phase of the project 365 is planned to documenting Muziris, the ancient seaport and urban center that existed from around 1st century AD.

Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi

Thrissur, popularly known as the Cultural Capital of Kerala has many other important facades. Synonymous with the world famous and spectacular Pooram Festival, Thrissur is the abode of several prominent cultural centres including the Kerala Kalamandalam, Sahitya Academy and Sangeetha Nataka Academy. Thrissur has an extraordinarily rich past as well as a vibrant present. From ancient times, this district with its cultural heritage and archaeological wealth has played a significant role in the political history of South India. Many rulers and dynasties beginning with the Zamorins of Kozhikode, Tipu Sultan of Mysore and Europeans including the Dutch and the British have had a hand in moulding the destiny of this region. Raja Rama Varma popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran is the architect of the present Thrissur town. Thrissur has a large number of well-known temples including the Vadakkumnathan temple, Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna temple and Paramekkavu temple, as well as two famous churches, the Our Lady of Lourdes Syro-Malabar Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral and Our Lady of Dolours Syro-Malabar Catholic Basilica.

Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi
Vadakumnathan temple / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi

We checked into YMCA where our stay had been organised by the college. The other two project 365 photographers Biju Ibrahim and Iqbal MK were to join us the next day (12th November). Project 365 Director Photographer Abul Kalam Azad had given us interesting places to visit in Thrissur and the Vadakumnathan topped the list. So we decided to go there. What was inside took our breath away. This temple is a classic example of the architectural style of Kerala and has monumental towers on all four sides and also a Kuttambalam. Mural paintings depicting various episodes from Mahabharata can be seen inside the temple. The shrines and the Kuttambalam display vignettes carved in wood. The temple, along with the mural paintings, has been declared as a National Monument by India under Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act.  According to popular local lore, this is the first temple built by Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu. This place of worship is now a living museum of our ancient culture. In our culture, art is a public property, owned and protected by people. The consciousness of the artists is collective. There are no signatures that claims any ownership.

Photography (C) Shiv Kiran
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Shiv Kiran
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Shiv Kiran
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Shiv Kiran

Project 365 aims at collectively creating a locally placed permanent space for photo art that portrays contemporary culture and lifestyle with its profound mystical roots. In present context, these kind of initiatives are rare and without any protocol to follow, Project 365 is evolving its own values, practices and ethics. Prof. Kavitha Balakrishnan, Fine Arts college, rightly said, “It is a collective responsibility”.

Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi

On 12th November, at 2.00 pm, MUKHAMUKHAM event started. The ambiance of the fine arts college was another dimension that added much value to the MUKHAMUKHAM presentation. The presence of sculptures all around added to the rawness of the old building. Prof. Lekha, Principal of the college inaugurated the event with a welcome speech. Prof. Kavitha Balakrishnan introduced the team. Ms. Tulsi swarna lakshmi, Manager, Project 365 introduced the project with the audience. About hundred and twenty students participated in the event.

Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives

Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi

14th November 2014

Bangalore

Travelling MUKHAMUKHAM – Face to Face with Project 365 photographers

Travelling ‘Mukhamukham’

*Coming next November 12th at Government College of Fine Arts, Thrissur

Mukhamukham

On Nov 9th 2014, Mukhamukham event was organised at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai. Project 365 photographers Arnav Rastogi, Shiv Kiran, Seema Krishnakumar and Bhagyashri presented their works with the National and International audience who had gathered for the presentation. Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad was present for the event.

Mukhamukham - Tiruvannamalai / Design (C) Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham – Tiruvannamalai / Design (C) Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

On November 8th, Vamsi Books, a partner of Project 365 organised Mukhamukham at Lebanon Bungalow, Tiruvannamalai. Bawa Chellathurai, noted Tamil story writer welcomed the gathering. Ms. Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi, Trustee EtP introduced Project 365 with the audience. Project 365 photographers Ami Gupta, Bhagyashri Patki, Arnav Rastogi, Seema Krishnakumar, Shiv Kiran, Jiby Charles, J Jayaraman and Senthil Kumaran presented their early and ongoing works with the Tiruvannamalai audience. The visual feast was enjoyed by about hundred local art enthusiasts. Mrs. Shylaja Chellathurai, Publisher, Vamsi Books delivered the vote of thanks. Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad was present for the event.

Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives

‘Photography in everyday life’ is the motto behind this travelling Mukhamukham. In the age of glossy high definition commercial photographs, the non-graphic realistic presentation of everyday life of an ancient town engages the interest of the audience. It is almost three months since Project 365 began and many people express interest to know and meet the photographers who are dedicating their years of service this cultural initiative. EtP has been organising weekly meet the photographer events at Kalai Illam which was received very well. As a continuation of this, travelling Mukhamukham, face to face with project 365 photographers has been organised in different parts of South India.

Schedule:

8th November 2014. Vamsi Books, Tiruvannamalai

9th November 2014, German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai

12th November 2014, Government College of Fine Arts, Thrissur

15th November 2014, Thalam, Bangalore

25th November 2014, Loyola college, Chennai

26th and 27th December 2014, International Theater Festival, Cochin

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

Dosa, a photograph and an esoteric zen master

Gaundaramma / Lo-fi photography series (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives

Gaundaramma / Lo-fi photography series (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives

Two days back Abul Kalam Azad showed me a very short interesting video and photographs of Mookupodi Siddhar he had shot and asked me to find his name, detail of birth place, etc. My birth village is near Rajapalayam and Abul thought I would be in a better position to find. The search on net didn’t reveal much. I recollected a conversation that we had a few months earlier with a local person who had traveled with Mookupodi Siddhar to his birth village. This conversation happened between Abul and a local person at a dosa shop in Girivalam which is our regular breakfast spot. The shop keeper, a Gaunder lady is very welcoming and her home-made chutnies are a delicacy. This is also a hub were Saddhus eat and is one of the reason Abul goes there for breakfast as part of his ongoing project ‘unknown gods’ (Agni Shylam series). Today morning, we decided to go the long stretch along the girivalam path to have breakfast at the dosa shop. I noticed Abul was talking with somebody, but didn’t keep track of the conversation, until he alerted me and said, “This is Mookupodi Siddhar’s son. Get his details”. I was surprised by this unexpected flow of information coming our way for Project 365.

The people of Tiruvannamalai call him ‘Mookupodi siddhar’. This name was given to him as he was snorting tobacco (mookupodi) everytime. The sadhu community and devotees in Tiruvannamalai has this practice of giving a name based on their physical or emotional attributes, outstanding behavior traits, etc. A few people start calling by that name and eventually their real name is forgotten. Niether the sadhus nor the visitors are interested in revealing their real names. Their past is left behind, often without any mention. Occasionally, the sadhus do visit their family. During rare occasions, a member from their family might come to visit them. Some mystics are permanently here, whilst others travel to other pilgrim places. There is a strong community fold and news about each others’ whereabouts and well being is communicated with everybody else. Offlate, there has been one such topic that seems to be the subject of every conversation…. Mookupodi Siddhar and his unfathamable zen master practice and activities. He beats people with his lathi… which is in a way is his blessing as well his teaching. Every morning, several people gather near the Ner Annamalai temple to get beating from the mostly silent Mookupodi siddhar. They wait, some times hours, to get his dharshan and blessings. Alongside, the public will also keep watch. There are times, he would ask a certain visitor to pull out all his money and put in his towel. HE would then wrap this towel with money in his hip. There are certain days when several bundles hang in his body. At a later time, he would give this money to somebody else who is courageful with him. The sadhus think that his actions are strange, esoteric and at the same time shakes the shackles of the people.

Mookupodi SidDhar / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives
Mookupodi Siddhar / Lo-fi Photography series (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives

Mookupodi siddhar has been in Tiruvannamalai for almost twenty years now. He has become popular only during the last 8 years. He must be in his early 80s. A few months ago, he asked one of the local devotee to accompany him for a short trip. Soon, they both embarked on a journey to East Rajapalayam, near Salem. Near the lake, at Shivan Kovil street, he asked the taxi to stop in front of a house…. and waited. A man in his fiftees, came out of the house, looked at the old man in the car and recognised him as his father….. he asked Mookupodi Siddhar to to come inside the house… The locals informed that this was the ancestral house of Mookupodi Swamy whose birth name was Mottayan Gaunder. Farming is the usual practice of Gaunder community and they are in general powerful landlords. During his young age, Mottayan Gaunder used to spend most his time at the Veerapathiran temple where he served as the priest. He used to tie garlands for the presiding deity. At the age of 25, his mother forced him to marry Chadachi. The couple had a son, Periyaswamy. A little while after Periyaswamy’s birth, Mottayyan Gaunder left his birth village, only to return after twelve years. It was as if he knew what was going to happen. Within few days of his arrival, his wife Chadachi passed away. He stayed there for three months and whilst leaving, he asked his son to come with him. Mookupodi Swamy’s mother refused. She was quoted to have said, “You took that path. Atleast let me have my grand son with me…”. Last year, the villagers urged Periaswamy to do the last Kriyas for his father, as he had not return for a long time. Periyasamy had gone ahead with the kriyas, and was planning for the second year kriya when mookupodi siddhar appeared in front of his house. Periasamy, now in his fifties, with folded hands, requested him to come inside the house, once again. Saying nothing, the Mookupodi Sidhar had continued with his journey.

Periasamy, son of Mookupodi Siddhar / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives
Periasamy, son of Mookupodi Siddhar / Lo-fi Photography series (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC photo archives

This story that was briefed by the Sadhu who had accompanied Mookupodi Sidhar was confirmed by his son Periaswamy who is right now in Tiruvannamalai visiting his father. “To my father, I am not any different. He is treating me like the way he does you…”. In the backdrop of the ever growing popularity of mookupodu sidhar, this claim by a farmer from the nearby area was received with a lot of speculation by the Sadhu community. However, a photo of young Mottayan Gaunder wearing a white attire like any shaiva saints, mudhra in both the hands and thiruneer in the forehead, which was carried with Periyasamy helped revealing his identity as his son. “I have come to be with him for few days. I have two chidlren, one boy and one girl waiting for me in my village”, said Periyasamy. For Project 365 / EtP, this is an interesting anecdote, protraying the specialness of photographs. The story of a photograph that stands as the only evidence of a family bond of a zen master is indeed an important dimension to capture and preserve. Since Mookupodi Siddhar’s last visit to his birth home, the villagers have geared up. The house which was once fondly called as ‘Mottayan Gaunder’s house’, is being reverred as ‘Swamy’s home’.

Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi

5th November 2014

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

புகைப்படக்கலைக்கென ஒரு ரூவாய் !!!

புகைப்பட காப்புரிமை: புகைப்பட கலைஞர் திரு. அபுல் கலாம் ஆசாத் / 'தினம் ஒரு புகைப்படம்' பொதுமை புகைப்பட களஞ்சியம்
புகைப்பட காப்புரிமை: புகைப்பட கலைஞர் திரு. அபுல் கலாம் ஆசாத் / ‘தினம் ஒரு புகைப்படம்’ பொதுமை புகைப்பட களஞ்சியம்

சமீப காலங்களில், “கலை” மக்களின் மனதிலிருந்தும்  வாழ்விலிருந்தும் வெகுவாக விலகி விட்டது. சமகால கலை முயற்சிகளும் பொதுவாக பெருநகரங்களில் தான் துவங்கப்படுகின்றன. கலை ஒரு வியாபாரப் பொருளாக மட்டுமே கணக்கிடப்பட்டு, அங்காடிகள், கலைக்காட்சிக்கூடங்கள் என அனைத்தும் ஓவியம், சிற்பம், புகைப்படம் போன்றவற்றை விற்பனை செய்கின்றனர்.  பழங்காலங்களில், கலை நமது கலாச்சாரத்திலும், வாழ்விலும், உள்ளத்திலும் வியாபித்து நின்றது. ஓவியங்கள், சிற்பங்கள் என காண்பவரெல்லாம் வியக்கும் வண்ணம் உயிரோட்டமான ஒரு கலைக்களஞ்சியமாகவே, பழங்கால குகைகளும் கட்டிடங்களும் இன்றும் நிமிர்ந்து நிற்கின்றன. இவற்றினை நமது கலாச்சார சின்னமாக பேணி பாதுகாத்து வருகிறோம்.  இப்பொழுது உள்ள கால சூழ்நிலையிலும் இது போன்ற கலை முயற்சிகள் அவசியமானதாகும். பொது மக்கள் சொத்தாக “கலை” தன் உயரிய நிலை பெற வேண்டும்.

சமீப கால கலைகளிலே மிகவும் பிரசித்தி பெற்று, மக்களின் அன்றாட வாழ்க்கையின்  ஒரு அங்கமாக ஊடுருவி நிற்பது ‘புகைப்படக்கலை’ ஆகும். சமகால கலைகளின் சிகரம் என்றே இதனை கூறலாம். கன நேரத்தில் மாறி மறையும் தருணங்களை ஒரு வரலாற்று பொக்கிஷமாக ஆண்டாண்டுக்காலம் பேணி பாதுகாத்து வைக்கும் திறன் கொண்டது.  வாசிக்க முடியாத பாமரனுடனும் பேசும் திறன் பெற்ற கலை புகைப்படக்கலை ஆகும். எளிமையானது. அனைவருக்கும் சொந்தமானது. பண்டைக்காலங்களில் ரசம் போன்ற ரசாயனங்களை கையாண்டு, அவை வெளியிடும் புகையினாலேயே படங்கள் உருவாக்கப்பட்டு வந்தன. அதனாலே தான் பாரம்பரிய முறையினை கையாளும் புகைப்பட கலைஞர்களை ‘ரசசித்தர்’ என்று  அழைக்கலாம். தற்பொழுது பாரம்பரிய புகைப்பட முறை வேகமாக மறைந்து வருகிறது.

புகைப்பட காப்புரிமை: புகைப்பட கலைஞர் திரு. அபுல் கலாம் ஆசாத் / 'தினம் ஒரு புகைப்படம்' பொதுமை புகைப்பட களஞ்சியம்
புகைப்பட காப்புரிமை: புகைப்பட கலைஞர் திரு. அபுல் கலாம் ஆசாத் / ‘தினம் ஒரு புகைப்படம்’ பொதுமை புகைப்பட களஞ்சியம்

கிராமம், சிறு நகரங்களில் வாழும் மக்களும் கலையில் பங்கு பெறவும், வேகமாக மாறி வரும் பண்டைக்கலாச்சாரம், சமகால வாழ்வு முறையினை புகைப்படங்களாக பதிவு செய்யவும், அழிந்து வரும் பாரம்பரிய புகைப்பட கலையினை மேம்படுத்தும் நோக்கத்துடனும், ‘தினம் ஒரு புகைப்படம்’ (Project 365) என்ற திட்டத்தினை, திருவண்ணாமலையில் உள்ள இ. டி. பி. (Ekalokam Trust for Photography) என்ற நிறுவனம் துவங்கி உள்ளது. இத்திட்டத்தின் முதலாம் கட்டம் திருவண்ணாமலையில் நடை பெற்று வருகிறது. இத்திட்டம், ‘பண்டைத் தமிழகம்’ என்றழைக்கப்படும் தமிழ்நாடு, கேரளா, கர்நாடக, மற்றும் ஆந்திர பகுதிகளில் நடத்தப்படும். வரும் ஆண்டுகளில், சங்க கால துறைமுக நகரங்களான கொற்கை, டிண்டிஸ், முசிரிஸ்  மற்றும் காவிரி நதி சார்ந்த நகரங்களிலும் நடத்தப்படும்.

கடந்த ஆகஸ்ட் மாதம் 15ம் தேதி முதல், நாற்பது புகைப்பட கலைஞர்கள் பல்வேறு கோணங்களில் திருவண்ணாமலையினை ஆவணப்படுத்தி வருகின்றனர். ஓராண்டுக்காலத்திற்குப் பின்,  இந்த புகைப்பட அச்சுகள் காட்சிக்கு வைக்கப்படும். இவை ஒரு புத்தக வடிவிலும் வெளியிடப்படும். அது மட்டுமல்ல, இந்த கண்காட்சி தென்னிந்தியாவின் பல பாகத்திலும் காட்சிக்கு வைக்கப்படும். இதன் பொருட்டு,  ‘முகாமுகம் – புகைப்பட கலைஞர்களுடன் ஒரு சந்திப்பு’ நிகழ்ச்சி தென்னிந்தியாவின் பல பகுதிகளிலும் நடைபெற்று வருகிறது. கல்லூரிகள், நாடக அரங்குகள், கலை கூடங்கள், விழாக்கள், என பல்வேறு பொது இடங்களிலும் இந்நிகழ்ச்சி நடதப்படுகின்றது. தெருக்கூத்து, நாடகம், பாட்டு, நாட்டியம் போலவே புகைப்படக்கலையும் நமது வாழ்க்கையின் முக்கிய அங்கமென்பதை நிலை நாட்டும் விதமாக, பல்வேறு கலந்துரையாடல் நிகழ்ச்சிகள் ஏற்பாடு செய்யப்படுகின்றன. தென்னிந்தியாவில், பல்வேறு பகுதிகளில் ‘பொதுமை புகைப்பட களஞ்சியம்’ உருவாக்கும் எண்ணத்துடன் இத்திட்டம் செயல்பட்டு வருகிறது. விலைமதிப்பில்லாத புகைப்படங்கள் ஒரு பொது சொத்தாக, நமது கலாச்சார சின்னமாக  நிறுவும் இந்த அரிய முயற்சிக்கு,  பலரின் பங்களிப்பும் ஆதரவும் அவசியமானதாகும். பெரிய நிறுவனங்களின் உதவி இல்லாது, மக்களின் பங்களிப்புடனே செயல்படுத்துவதே இத்திட்டத்தின் நோக்கம். அதனால் தான் “கலைக்கென ஒரு ரூவாய்” என்ற பிரச்சாரத்தினை இ.டி.பி. நிறுவனம் துவங்கி உள்ளது. அனைவரும் பங்களித்து, இந்த பொதுமை புகைப்பட கலைத் திட்டத்திற்கு  உதவி செய்யுமாறு அன்புடன் கேட்டுக் கொள்கிறோம். இத்திட்டத்தினை தலைமையேற்று செயல்படுத்தி வருபவர் பிரபல இந்திய  புகைப்பட கலைஞர் திரு. அபுல் கலாம் ஆசாத் ஆகும்.

முதலாம் பொது காட்சி' டிசம்பர் மாதம் ஏழாம் தேதி, திருவண்ணாமலை
முதலாம் பொது காட்சி’ டிசம்பர் மாதம் ஏழாம் தேதி, திருவண்ணாமலை

இந்த திட்டத்தின் ‘முதலாம் பொது காட்சி’ டிசம்பர் மாதம் ஏழாம் தேதி திருவண்ணாமலையில் நடை பெற உள்ளது. அனைவரும் பங்கு பெறவும்.

தென்னிந்தியாவின் பண்பாடும் வாழ்க்கைமுறையும் மிக வேகமாக மாறிக்கொண்டிருக்கிறது. மாறுகின்ற இந்த பண்பாட்டின் வெளிப்பாடுகளை புகைப்பட வடிவில் பாதுகாத்து வைக்கும் ஒரு சிறந்த முயற்சியே இ.டி.பி. அமைப்பினால் தொடங்கப்பட்டுள்ள Project 365  என்று மகுடமிடப்பட்டுள்ள  ‘பொதுமை புகைப்படக்கலை திட்டமாகும்’. இதன் முதல்படி தமிழ்நாட்டின் திருவண்ணாமலையில் நடந்து வருகிறது. பல்வேறு கலாச்சாரங்களின் கோணங்களை தன்னகத்தே கொண்டுள்ள இந்த புராதன நகரத்தின் சிறப்புகளை இந்தியா முழுவதும் உள்ள புகைப்படக்கலைஞர்கள் சம்பிரதாயமான ஊடக வழியில் ஓராண்டுக்காலம் ஆவணப்படுத்துவார்கள். முடிவில் கண்காட்சியும் புத்தகமும் வெளியிடப்படும். இந்த திட்டம் இக்கால இந்திய புகைப்பட கலைஞர் அபுல் கலாம் ஆசாத் அவர்களால் வழி நடத்தப்படுகிறது. அடுத்த ஐந்தாண்டுகளுக்குள் சங்க கால துறைமுக நகரங்களாகிய தொண்டி, முசிறி மற்றும் காவேரி பாயும் நிலம் சார்ந்த அனைத்து ஊர்களின் கலைச்சிறப்பை ஆவணப்படுத்தும்.

இந்த பதிப்பிலுள்ள புகைப்படங்களின் பதிப்புரிமை புகைபடக்கலைஞரின் உரிமை ஆகும். மீண்டும் பிரசரிப்பதற்கோ வேறு பதிப்புகளில் உபயோகப்படுத்துவதற்கோ இ.டி.பி. நிறுவனத்தின் (Project 365 பொதுக்களஞ்சியம்) முன் அனுமதி அவசியம். மேலும் தகவல் அறிய {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 என்ற எண்ணில் தொடர்பு கொள்ளவும்.

Director’s Anecdote II

Agni

Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC archives / 2014
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC archives / 2014

The word agni is the Sanskrit word for fire and light. Agni is called as Thee in Tamil. Agni occupies a prominent place in the Vedas and vedic Brahmanas works as a Hindu and Vedic deity. The ancient Indians recognized it as the power of heat and light and the will-power united with wisdom, they knew the human will-power to be a feeble projection of this power which they believed could be strengthened by the Rig Vedic chants to Agni. The Vedic people developed the worship of Agni, personified and deified Agni as the sacrificial fire, the priest of the gods and the god of the priests, who through yajna carries the oblations to the gods, the celestial controllers of the mysterious and potent forces of nature, to ensure the continuance of conditions favourable to mankind.  In Vedic deities Agni occupies, after Indra, the most important position. He is ever-young, because the fire is re-lit every day, yet he is also immortal.

Agni is the first word of the first hymn of the Rigveda (Sukta I.i.1) revealed to Rishi Madhuchchandah Vaishvamitah in Gayatri metre. The Rig Veda begins with a prayer to Agni, the receiver, holder and distributor of energy, who leads the devtas to victory in their battles against the asuras, and confers wealth of various kinds to the performers of yajnas. According to Agni Purana, which is the eighth in the list of eighteen Puranas, no god is approachable without the medium of Agni, and no divinity is without the presence of Agni; his element is earth. At the command of Bhirgu, Agni was brought down from the heavens for man’s use by Matarishvan in the later writings Agni is described as a son of Angiras who happened to discover fire and its uses. Agni as the immortal guest is the witness of all actions, supremely powerful, all consuming and irresistible but who commands all earthly and heavenly riches i.e. all temporal good. As the most potent and visible form of energy, useful but destructive at the same time, fire was both revered and at the same time feared by the Vedic people. Cow’s milk and its derivatives such as ghee (clarified butter) are integral parts of Vedic fire sacrifices, which are conducted by Brahmin priests; That’s why the Vedic priests who are the keepers of fire worshiped the cow that provide ghee to feed the fire.

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