Dewar's: A Eulogy, is Arun Dawson's eye looking lovingly at his favourite watering hole that's no more
It would be apt to call this exhibition of photographs “an affair” of Arun Dawson with Dewar's — the bar (no, not pub), and one of the last colonial remnants of Bangalore that, like many other institutions of the city, have died a slow death. Of course, he's called it a eulogy, as Dewar's breathed its last in December 2010.
A graphic designer at an ad agency, Arun Dawson, like most regulars at the watering hole that sprung up in the 1930s Cantonment, was introduced to the place by friends.
He can't remember how long he's been going there, and almost seems offended by my asking him to measure in years, the love of his life.
His series of just over 15 black-and-white photographs of Dewar's linger lovingly on its famed cane chairs, the shiny wooden tables, the light streaming in from the old barred windows, it's almost church-like arches framing old fans, a window latch here, an ash tray there, a bowl of fried hesarkaalu, the expansive liquor cabinet below the expansive set of garlanded gods…
“I liked this place and photographed it for myself,” says Dawson rather possessively. “It's not about the photos, it's about the place.” But isn't Dewar's planning to re-open in upscale Koramangala? “I don't think that's going to happen…whatever happens, it won't be the same building and it won't have the same charm.” Accepted.
There are very few people in his frames. “The place means so much more to me than the people…people come and go,” he concludes. On Monday evening, at the exhibition's opening, it was also about nostalgia and sharing with fellow Dewar-ites the famous liver, brain and “spare parts”, made for the occasion by the bar's cooks.
The exhibition is on till March 25 at Renaissance Gallerie, Westminster, Cunningham Road. Call 99020-74074.