Goa-based lensman P. Madhavan loves Mahatma Gandhi. His latest exhibition is an effort to understand his idol’s philosophy. Interestingly, it is not taking place in any white cube but on Facebook.
Here comes what one has been waiting for, for quite sometime. While auctions, displays and collections have been taking place online for some time, an artist sending an e-invite announcing the opening of his show on Facebook not such a common occurrence. But it’s not unexpected of someone like P. Madhavan. Along with other like-minded people, Madhavan through Goa-Cap (Goa Center for Alternative Photography) is steering innovation and experimentation in the world of photography. But what he is showcasing on FB is an extremely personal work that emerged out of the Dandi March in 2011.
The Goa-based photographer along with his three colleagues at Goa-Cap undertook a massive journey starting from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi. The group took exactly the same route that Mahatma Gandhi took in 1930 to reach Dandi and break the salt laws in protest against the British Salt Laws. “On This Road, Gandhi Walked Once” a set of 24 images that are on display on FB were made by Madhavan during this journey. “I am self-proclaimed Gandhian. I have done my masters in Gandhian philosophy. I wanted to understand why did he choose salt, why did he march to Dandi and I realized it was a very strategic, carefully planned moved. He started with just 81 people and by the time he finished, there were lakhs of people who had joined him. There was no social media then. Just the radio. How could something like that happen in that time, I wonder,” says Madhavan.
So, while on this journey, Madhavan shot the spots on film, Gandhi crossed en route to Dandi. “What these black and white images show is the transformed landscape with absolutely no human beings, just structures and machines. There is urbanization, modernization and industrialization but it wouldn’t have been like this in his time,” explains the photographer who works with analogue.
Madhavan says the idea behind having an exhibition on FB is to engage with our new reality which is our virtual society. “If social media can be a part of our elections then why not a photography exhibition? I don’t understand the logic of shooting on digital and then taking a print and exhibiting it. A digital photograph can be shown on a digital medium. It has been put together with the same sincerity like a physical exhibition. And I am available on chat and phone if the viewers want to get in touch with me,” says Madhavan.
(The exhibition remains live on the photographer’s Facebook profile Pa.Madhavan till June 24. He can also be contacted on 9689041602 and firstname.lastname@example.org)