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

Life of a Librarian

J Jayaraman, a resident of Sri Ramana Ashram has been documenting his own life as part of Project 365 – the PUBLIC PHOTO ART project initiated by EtP. JJ is born in a South Indian Brahmin family. JJ is passionate about music and art right from his childhood. He fondly recollects his mother singing the catchy songs of Tayumanavar, Pattinathar, Arunagirinathar, which used to be a common practice in every family in our culture. He didn’t learn music but was initiated into the world through a direct exploration of the Octave. He plays several instruments, all of them palm-holdable and single-pitched, like the mouth-harp, didgeridoo, gopichand ektar, tambourine, taal, shakers. He is a ready enthusiast of any music, and chants. Jayaraman did his B.Tech from IIT, Chennai. Immediately after his graduation he joined IBM. Part of his working-life also took him to nearby Baroda. A voracious reader ‘JJ’ was a frequent visitor to an East West Book House. That’s when he read about Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in the book ‘Talks with Maharshi’ written by Osborne. After that he visited the ashram and since 1975 he started visiting Tiruvannamalai and the Ashram every year. In the year 1985 he quit his fancy job and became an inmate of the ashram, given the responsibility of being Librarian to its archivally unique Sri Ramana Centenary Library now [shifted into ashram area,] named Ramana Granthalayam. He had an early interest in observing photos. The long processing delay between Karma and Phala prevented him from exploring photography. In the year 2008, he started using smart phone to capture images of his daily life. When he discovered Facebook, it became his ‘real-time extension to share his mundane life images, unedited. To him, photography opened his eyes to light and to help him explore the connection with the sublime and eternal through the romance between darkness and light. JJ expressed his interest to be part project 365 and EtP was equally keen to have him part of the team. As an inmate of the ashram, JJ had more access to the ashram and was bound to bring out interesting visuals of the ashram and its surrounding.

J Jayaraman / Project 365 photographer / Image (C) Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
J Jayaraman / Project 365 photographer / Image (C) Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives

In this project 365, JJ has sharing images of his own life in the ashram. He understands photography to be a two dimensional capture of a three-dimensional ‘frame’ flying past in pixels of 5-quanta [=sense-organ flow] then by adding metrical text ‘on the go’ to it, he adds a ‘third’ dimension to his unconventional images. And unconventional they tend to be, given his obsessive compulsive pattern-recognition. This autobiographical project brings us the protean maverick life of JJ to the light. It is appropriate to quote his words, “I entered my professional ‘ride’ when Woodstock was upon all. The ‘opting out’ was a strategy successfully demonstrated to himself by Henry David Thoreau, but would not suit a social movement like Hippyism, that need to find a structure so as not to be labeled parasite. It took time for me to realize that our own tradition allowed such a practice derived from the roots of individual temperament, and the universally present process of spiritual maturing. It has been a round trip for the Tenth Bull.”

Life of a librarian - Image (C) J Jayaraman - Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian – Image (C) J Jayaraman – Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian - Image (C) J Jayaraman - Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian – Image (C) J Jayaraman – Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian - Image (C) J Jayaraman - Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian – Image (C) J Jayaraman – Project 365 public archives

JJ says, “The mind of a librarian who is primarily an engineer and a musician tends to gravitate towards super sets in classification and accommodation of knowledge within wholesome experience. So, much of the content of a library, its spectrum of knowledge, in some way reflects the persona of the librarian. There has been an openness in accepting all and any points of view. This fits in with Ramana Maharishi’s approach saying that, if the knower is apprehended, all else is known and if that is not done, no amount of knowledge is useful. And in the style of living accorded through him, which he called athyasrama (meaning beyond conventional human classifications), his followers and devotees are accorded a wide field for them to engage upon, should destiny move things that way for them. In my case, the invitation from Ekalokam Trust to be one of the photographers recording an aspect of Project 365 for the Arunachala, namely my life in the ashram, as a librarian, has indeed given me immense scope to capture in the visual and document the events in verse, that usually demands a revisit. The never tiring scenes of Nature’s beauty, manifest through its beings, moving and the unmoving, flying, creeping, and swimming and seeking through the verticals and the horizontals have been available to me in plenty day after day. There is an unchanging that connects all in any given theme that is captured. Put in reverse, any thing or any series that is captured can, contemplated upon sufficiently, reveal a theme. I daresay I find the subject practically inexhaustible in detail, but capable of manifesting a sturdy monotone of reality as it is, reality as it is suggested and reality as it is desired. Asti. Bhati. Priyam.”

Life of a librarian - Image (C) J Jayaraman - Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian – Image (C) J Jayaraman – Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian - Image (C) J Jayaraman - Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian – Image (C) J Jayaraman – Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian - Image (C) J Jayaraman - Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian – Image (C) J Jayaraman – Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian - Image (C) J Jayaraman - Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian – Image (C) J Jayaraman – Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian - Image (C) J Jayaraman - Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian – Image (C) J Jayaraman – Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian - Image (C) J Jayaraman - Project 365 public archives
Life of a librarian – Image (C) J Jayaraman – Project 365 public archives

(to be continued…)

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