Theyyam under the spotlight

An exhibition of photographs highlights the beauty of the ancient form of worship .

Published: 08th September 2012 12:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2012 12:05 PM   |  A+A-


North Malabar is one of the most famous centres for the exhibition of the traditional art form of Theyyam. Being the only art form that brings all the castes and classes of Kerala society together, Theyyam is a popular Hindu form of worship.

Purushothaman Pattannur is a freelance photographer who has been inspired by this traditional art form. The fact that he originally belongs to Kannur makes his ties with the dance more robust.

The word ‘Theyyam’, which is a mangled version of Devam or God, merges colour, dance, music and poetry into an offering to the Gods. In his exhibition, Purushotaman provides, for his viewers, a colourful blaze of traditional photographs printed on imported canvas. His collection, a work of four years of work, shows the  vibrancy of Malabar from February to May every year. Captured with a Nikon D80, the pictures manage to portray the intricate details of the costumes and setting. ‘Munchilottu Bhagavathi’, ‘Rakthachamundi’, ‘Kalyana Sougandhikam’, ‘Subhadraharanam’, ‘Vishnu Moorthi’, ‘Dakshayagam’ and ‘Pottan Theyyam’ are a few of the exhibits.

“Thanks to the brightness of numerous lit fires and delightful rhythms of drums and ritual songs, the devotees are taken to a trance-filled state of Bhakthi,” says Purushothaman. The exhibition combines Theyyam and Kathakali to depict the energy and colours of the traditional Kerala art forms. The show was inaugurated by Madhu Raj, Chief Photographer, ‘Mathrubhumi’ in the presence of T J Varghese, President, All Kerala Photographers’ Association.

The exhibition at the Durbar Hall concludes on September 9. 


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