exhibition Of works of photojournalists, cartoonists and illustrators that are commentaries on society, polity and culture

Photojournalists tell stories through pixels. But these commentaries — like those of the reporters — come with a sell-by date. Time and context serve as scaffolding for news images; remove the two, and they may be rendered insignificant. But certain images take on a life of their own and outlive their limited role as markers of events that shape our society, polity and culture.

Art Houz, a fine art gallery on Kasturi Ranga Road, has selected such images by city photo journalists for a rare exhibition ‘Magic Lantern’, on view till today (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.). Works of cartoonists and illustrators — shackled by the same constraints as photojournalists — are also on display. Visitors to the exhibition can take away a four-page broadsheet on these visual stories that apes a typical newspaper edition. Below the masthead, a tagline reads: “An ode to ink and print and its fine art.”

Says Vincent Adaikalraj, chairman and managing director, Art Houz, ‘Magic Lantern’ is an effort at presenting the beautiful marriage between the cerebral and the aesthetic, often reflected in the works of photojournalists, press illustrators and cartoonists. Another goal is emphasising their ability to produce fine art on the go.

In keeping with the journalistic tradition of racing against time, the ‘Magic Lantern’ took concrete shape only around 10 days ago and the team in charge went into a flurry of activity, contacting journalists, sifting through the submitted images and sketches, filtering them and dressing the chosen ones with eye-catching slides. Art-centricity was the overriding principle governing the choice, says Anita Mahadevan, spokesperson, Art Houz. It was not art in a vacuum, but one that made an interesting statement about something in our world.

In a parallel vein, two hardcore artists — R. Jacob Jebaraj and Joyston Vaz have displayed works that seek to capture the mind of the media. Jebaraj’s serigraphs, titled Variant Vibrations, present a maddening mix of people and events wreathed in text tamed into an order that is indicative of the press room.

A collection of paintings by graffiti artist Vaz — called Alice In Media Land — deals with how the mind tends to view objects in sizes either bigger or smaller than they really are. Vaz is also carrying out a social art experiment, whereby visitors are invited to paste newsprint on two mannequins and dress them up.

Another offering is ‘Dark Room’, where documentaries on photo-journalism are screened.

Art Houz is located at 41, Kasturi Rangan Road, Poes Garden, Alwarpet.