Art

Strokes in stills

Artist and musician Pramod Stephen and photographer Naveen Kumar come together for an exhibition of photographs this weekend in a twin-show -- “Living in the Fringes of Duality” and “Opera of Life Lights”.

Pramod, who is currently a music director in the Kannada film industry has captured the Kunde Habba -- the almost primal “festival” celebrated by Jenu Kuruba tribals in Kodagu district, at the Devarapura Kali Temple, abusing a god who abandoned his people, bringing to the fore a darker side of human nature.

Strokes in stills
 

“As an artist, I’m interested in culture -- not just the beauty of it, but the content. I’ve photographed rural life and traditions before. At this festival, each person transforms himself -- men dress up like women and vice versa. They get into this transgender state, and as an artist I’m interested in this “trance” they get into. Within their limited resources they decorate themselves according to their own aesthetic- they define themselves through their dressing. It becomes an art form where the body is the canvas,” says Stephen on his narrative of over 90 photographs, taken in 2016.

28bgm-Stephen2

28bgm-Stephen2  

 

A student of Ken School of Art, Bengaluru, Pramod was awarded a French Government fellowship in 1995 to visit and study at the École Nationale des Beaux Arts, Bourges France. “These tribals are living in a dilemma. They live neither in urban areas, nor in the forest - most of them are labourers, and they vent their frustration at this festival,” he adds.

Strokes in stills
 

Naveen, a painter and graphic designer, started off fascinated with mobile photography and moved to take up photography professionally. He has captured village life in beautiful light, shot over three years in villages between Bengaluru and Mysuru -- he has a series of 45 candid photos. “I like to play with light -- I love backlight photography, which is a tough form of photography. My hours were very restricted -- the kind of light I needed would be available on for about 1.5 hours soon after sunrise and in the evening for about two hours before sunset. And I wanted to capture natural movement and the village lifestyle in such light. And I wanted to do this because very few people are doing it,” he says. Having studied Applied Art from CAVA, Mysuru and with a Masters in creative painting from Sri Kalaniketan School of Art, Mysuru, it’s no surprise that his photos almost have the quality of paintings in them.

The show is on at Venkatappa Art Gallery, Kasturba Road from January 28 to 31, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 9:37:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/Strokes-in-stills/article17102883.ece

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