Coimbatore's many moods are captured in photographs and are offered to you as an exhibition called Urbanisms
Urbanisms , a photo exhibition at the Contemplate Art Gallery, Avanashi Road is a study of Coimbatore, from a lensman's perspective. From portraits of Coimbatore of yore to more recent photographs taken during the Tamizh-maanadu days, this exhibition has a heterogeneous collection - of photographs, clicked by students and amateur photographers, of old pictures from GK Sundaram's collection, a priceless set of pictures from Coimbatore, in the late 19th and early 20th century, some sketches from Shankar Vanavarayar's collection, and some mind-blowing offerings from Rajshree Pathy's personal art collection.
As a run up to the exhibition, photographers were invited to take photographs on themes such as economy, urban structures, history, people and changes in Coimbatore, and so on. Kaarthic Senthil's ‘Co-existence' showcases men, animals, vehicles and places of worship harmoniously coexisting, along the roads of Coimbatore. Another photograph, called ‘Music Man', is a spectacular black and white picture of a basket containing wooden flutes.
Sankaragomathy Selvaraj, a lecturer from a college in the city, has displayed a majestic portrait of TNAU and shown vignettes of the Tamil Conference.
Glimpses of the Maanadu
T Kanagaraj has also displayed his share of the maanadu with a picture of Thiruvalluvar on one of the floats, and a candid picture of some policemen, leaning lazily against the barricades, while keeping a watch on the crowds.
Vignesh Prabhu has photographed the Kari race track at Chettipalayam. And in another photograph, has captured the Usha Kirtilal Convention Centre (RS Puram) in a novel way. He calls it ‘Cubism in Coimbatore'. He has focussed on the angular edges of the building, making it look completely different.
Another amateur photographer, Ashik Jaffer Ali has taken a picture of a ‘Home in a village.' It is a telling image of a ramshackle house with exposed red bricks, a faded door, patches of mud and visible cracks along its walls. Dakshinmurthy's ‘Window of Hope', provides a view of a lake in the city, along with some trees and mountains in the background, all seen through a hole in the wall. Kanagaraj has gleefully played with his shutter to provide a glimpse of Gandhipuram and Avanashi road, in the night. ‘Coimbatore Today,' his collage of four pictures, conjured by adjusting the shutter speed of the camera, is a brilliant hotchpotch of streaks and arches of red and yellow lights.
This exhibition also houses pictures that were borrowed from the Coimbatore Club. Sepia-and-black and white-tinted-images of Coimbatore in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are on display. A picture of Race Course in 1870 shows the area with only the All Souls church, surrounded by barren land and dotted with a few trees. There are also photographs of the Coimbatore Spinning and Weaving Company Limited (1888) near Nirmala school, the Stanes High School (1895) and one of the club in 1895.
Aerial photographs from Sri G.K. Sundaram's album include black and white images of the Coimbatore Railway station with its serpentine tracks, the Central Jail, Nanjappa Road, Town Hall (cluttered with a lot of buildings) and the Perinaayakenpaalayam Srinivasa Perumal Temple.
Sketches from Shankar Vanavarayar's collection include the heritage buildings of Coimbatore like Poochana Vallu Chettiyar House and Ananda Kumar Chettiyar House in Range Gounder street. The Fab India building, once owned by a member of the PSG family, is also depicted. So are the Oriental Bank Of Commerce building at Vysyal street, District Record Office, Ramnagar and a house on Malavia street in Ramnagar.
A few pictures from Rajshree Pathy's collection, like ‘Potato eaters after Van Gogh' by Vivek Vilasini, abstracts by Gigi Scaria, ‘Sakthi Cool Bar' by N Ramachandran, photographs of Delhi by Bharat Sikka and Asim Waqif's bizarre diptych provide variety at the exhibition.
Urbanisms, which is a part of Coimbatore Vizha, is on at Contemplate Art Gallery, Rajshree Ford Building till January 9. Some of the photographs are on sale and are priced upward of Rs 1,000. For details, contact: 9095412346