MUKHAMUKHAM – Tripunithura and Tiruvannamalai

Thrippunithura or Tripunithura is a suburb of the city of Kochi in the state of Kerala, India and a part of the Kochi metropolitan area. Thrippunithura was the capital of the erstwhile Kingdom of Cochin. Project 365 MUKHAMUKHAM event was organised at Kalikotta, Tripunithuraon 26th and 27th December 2014 during Ekharya Performance Festival. Photographer and Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad presented his selected works from 1975 – 2014 with the audience on the first day. Abul’s series titled, ‘landmark of my memories’ – showcased the architecture of 70s and 80s Kerala. Senti-mental series, the kaleidoscopic view of life and personal history showed an impossible fusing of photos and graphics. Abul had worked on this series for almost five years (2005 – 2010). One of the recent series ‘Beatles in Rishikesh’, a simple black and white photographs portraying the abandoned Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram where Beatles had visited during the 1960s. The trajectory of Abul’s works was indeed mind blowing. Almost hundred photo enthusiasts enjoyed the works. The second Project 365 photographs were shown to the audience.

Theatre artist and photographer Ramesh Varma introducing photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Theatre artist and photographer Ramesh Varma introducing photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Ekharya Performance Director Ashok introducing Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Ekharya Performance Festival Director Dr. Abhilash Pillai introducing Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project 365 Manager Tulsi swarna lakshmi introducing EtP and Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project 365 Manager Tulsi swarna lakshmi introducing EtP and Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
2nd day Project 365 projection / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
2nd day Project 365 projection / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives

On 4th and 5th January 2015, Mukhamukham Meet project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad and Photographer Thierry Cardon event was organised at Kalai Illam, Tiruvannamalai. Thierry Cardon, photographer from France has visited Tiruvannamalai as part of Project 365. He decided to share few of his original cyanatype prints with the Project 365 photographers and local audience. Abul showed his early work on the first day and on 5th Jan, he share his ongoing long-term work with the Thirunangai titled ‘War Marriage Widows’. Some of the locally based Thirunangai’s also enjoyed the photographs. Anbalaki, one of the Thirunangai spoke with the audience and narrated the Koovagam festival and associated epical history.

Project Manager Tulsi welcoming hte audience / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project Manager Tulsi welcoming the audience / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Two photographers Thierry Cardon and Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Two photographers Thierry Cardon and Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon showing his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon showing his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhlmann at the Kalai Illam / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhllmann at the Kalai Illam / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artists Chrisitian Uhlmann and Gayatri Gamuz / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artists Christian Uhllmann and Gayatri Gamuz / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon presenting his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon presenting his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Chrisitian Uhlmann and Photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhllmann and Photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya and Artist - sculptor Christian Uhlmann /Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya and Artist – sculptor Christian Uhllmann /Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist Wendel Field enjoying 'SEMA' / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist Wendel Field enjoying ‘SEMA’ / 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
Poet Ananda Surya talking on Abul's works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya talking on Abul’s works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives

<to be continued>

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  / 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

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