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Himalayan odyssey

SHILPA NAIR ANAND
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ART The show at Nanappa Art Gallery unplugs the many mysteries of the Himalayas

Scaling new heightsA visitor viewing the works on display at Nanappa Art Galleryphoto: by special arrangement
Scaling new heightsA visitor viewing the works on display at Nanappa Art Galleryphoto: by special arrangement

The Himalayas are as mysterious as they are grand. Its grandeur lies in the eyes of the beholder; one can make what one wants of the grand mountains. The ‘Himagiriviharam’, an exhibition of photographs and paintings showcases, mostly, what artists ‘see’ in the Himalayas. The exhibition is on at Nanappa Art Gallery.

It is not all mountains at the exhibition, there are human stories too. Some of the photographs were shot in Uttarkashi before the disaster struck. If on the one hand there is Ajay Lal’s stunning shot of the Neelakanta peak in Uttarkashi, then there are RVK Varma’s shots tracing the journey of a river. K.R. Vinayan too translates the scenes honestly through his photographs which is refreshing photography minus software gimmickry. Manilal Padavoor’s frames are peopled by the rural folk going about their chores and the business of life. He captures the unguarded moments of the lives of the hill people.

Sombre scenes

Madhu V. captures the diminishing Gomukh, the source of the river Bhagirathi. The most stunning of the photos are by Praveen Elayi. There is a startling shot of a devotee filling a can with the holy water unaware of a dead body next to it.. This photograph is juxtaposed with an image of Haridwar. Anup Kamath’s work is a digital ‘interpretation’ of Neelakanta.

The paintings include works by Bose Krishnamachari, C.N. Karunakaran (CNK), Murali Cheroth, T. Kaladharan, P. S. Josh and Shridhar Iyer. Most of these have nothing to do with the Himalayas. They provide relief, preventing the fatigue and repetitiveness of looking at too many photographs of the hills. “That was the idea. Too many photographs of the same thing can be overwhelming for the viewer,” says Kaladharan who has put the show together. Bose’s painting grabs eyeballs and CNK’s is sombre in comparison. Murali Cheroth’s water colours and Josh’s paintings are engaging.

Some of the photographs of the Himalayas at Uttarkashi were shot before the deluge. Kaladharan says he has avoided photographs and images of the disaster.

The show concludes on September 25 with the screening of Mind That Flows , a film that chronicles a Himalayan yatra, directed by the late C.P. Padmakumar. Padmakumar who passed away last year had directed and shot the film. “Some of the places that the waters took away have been preserved for posterity by Padmakumar in the film,” Kaladharan says.

SHILPA NAIR ANAND

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