Creative twists bring charm to vintage images on display at Kalakriti Art Gallery in Hyderabad. A black and white photograph of a girl from a royal family stares into the camera while her face, painted in bold colours, resembles Thota Vaikuntam’s ‘Telangana Woman‘. Another vintage photograph shows two girls ‘holding’ an Eiffel Tower in their hands. Multimedia artist Masuram Ravikanth’s exhibition A Reflection of Yesterday’s Truth and Today’s Imagination is a blend of his images and some from Kalakriti’s archival collection .
How it started
Ravikanth’s tryst with digitized archives began in 2017 when he recreated photographs clicked by his artist-photographer father Rajendra Prasad at his studio in Jalgaon. This digital endeavour got a boost when the artist attended a 45-day residency in Paris and was encouraged by Kalakriti art gallery founder Prashnt Lahoti to superimpose archival photographs manually. The series of works were created at La Reserve, Bordeaux, a cross-residence programme between Bordeaux Metropole and Hyderabad in partnership with Krishnakriti Foundation.
“It was a big challenge,” recalls Ravikanth, who has painted acrylics on one part of these photographs. MF Husain, Manjit Bawa, A Ramachandran, Ravinder Reddy and Laxma Goud are some of the artist’s styles he has used. “It is a concept, not a copy,” he clarifies, showing us a picture of Ganesha done in MF Husain style on a photograph of sweet shop.
Besides showcasing the collection for the first time at Kalakriti Gallery six years ago, he had a private display at Falaknuma Palace around four months ago. Ravikanth explains the creative process, “As only a section of the photograph is being enhanced, a lot of thought process goes into deciding the art and the artist, who are also credited.”
On display are also photographs clicked by his father. His favourite from the collection is his photo with his siblings with an image of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra painted on it. “My father used to take self-portraits through his vintage wooden camera. Now people use Photoshop to easily create double exposure but he used to do it manually,” says Ravikanth, a third-generation artist from the family.
Ravikanth likes to create conceptual works such as Spandalika, the rocking horse series inspired by a wooden rocking horse in his father’s studio. “My concepts revolve around the photography studio,” says the artist who seeks inspiration from his personal images and memories.
A Reflection of Yesterday’s Truth and Today’s Imagination is on at Kalakriti Art Gallery till June 14