Snapshots of a sepia tinted past and a glistening present

A Trust based in Tamil Nadu is hoping to document contemporary culture and traditions across the South

Published: 21st July 2014 08:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2014 08:28 AM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: In an attempt to preserve the cultural wisdom and mystic roots of India, Ekalokam Trust for Photography (EtP) will launch Project 365, a year-long public photographic art project, on August 15. With the participation of 40 photographers, the programme aims at documenting the ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle in India.

 In this long-term vision, EtP plans to document the Tamilakam territory of ancient tri-Sangam period, now meagerly represented in a geography comprising modern Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and parts of Andhra Pradesh.

 In the first phase, Tiruvannamalai, one of ancient heritage sites of India, has been selected for documentation. In the next five years, EtP will document the tri-Sangam ports Kondungallur, Muziris and Tindis and the entire Cauvery Delta.

 Acclaimed photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, P R S Mani, Eliot Elisofon, G Govind Welling and many others have created several bodies of photography work of Tiruvannamalai. The invaluable few of these photographs are being archived and preserved by Sri Ramana Ashram, Tiruvannamalai.

 Contemporary Indian photographers, including Sadanand Menon, Ram Rahman, Dinesh Khanna, Aditya Arya, Waswo X Waswo Thierry Cardon, Ramu Aravindan, Alex Fernandes, Pa Madhavan, R R Srinivasan and J Jayaraman, and selected upcoming talents will be documenting personally chosen themes restricted to the multi-dimensional aspect of Tiruvannamalai. The topics include urbanisation, living spaces, life of shepherds, Saiva tradition, Jainism, Sufism, gender in Tamil culture, ethnic lifestyle, lives of working women, wildlife, temples and shrines, caves and herbs, etc. This will be conducted over a year using diversified traditional analog and modern mediums, techniques, processes and mixed media approaches.

 This project, lead by distinguished photographer Abul Kalam Azad, will culminate in an exhibition and a publication in an illustrative book form. To ensure public access and use of these images, EtP plans to partner with the local government to create a permanent public exhibition space in Tiruvannamalai.

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