Society

Reviving old memories

The history of Gwalior is very romantic.  

Rachna Shukla describes Gwalior as a “small, sleepy town, just three hours away from Agra”. “But,” she continues, “Sleepy, perhaps, for the first time in centuries. Gwalior has a rich history of 1,400 years and has been the stage for events of cultural significance.” From Jain sculptures dating back to the 10th century to monuments erected by the Scindia dynasty in the 14th Century, Gwalior occupies an important space in India’s historical narrative. She does this with her medium of fine-art photography and attempts to capture the image of an overlooked city in ‘Gwalior- A Song Forgotten’, her second photography exhibition.

“The city of Gwalior has faded from public memory. It is only because of its association with the Scindia family that it remains relevant. Gwalior-A Song Forgotten is an attempt to revive the city’s splendour. Its history has been much like a song with highs and lows, and is very romantic. Moreover, Gwalior has a tradition of lores and also boasts of a place in Indian classical music. The Gwalior Gharana is much famous and Tansen, one of the nine jewels of Akbar’s court, learnt music here. In fact, even the respected Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is from Gwalior and has a museum of music dedicated to his career,” says Rachna.

With a befitting title for the collection, Rachna’s lens travels to Gwalior’s iconic monuments and showcases them in a colour palette of black-and-white. “In general, a lot of my photography is in black-and-white. If there is colour, I’m careful about them being cohesive and not jarring. However, I believe, that one notices form better in the absence of colour. Colour can be distracting and interferes with the beauty of light and shadow interplay,” she says.

Rachna’s pictures are evocative and sometimes feel like a painting. She laughs, “That’s not a coincidence. I love order and beauty in my pictures, hence, very particular of the components that make up the picture. Fine art photography for me is one form of contemporary art and is as important as any other art form.”

Rachna recently showcased ‘Gwalior-A Song Forgotten’ at Chitrakala Parishath. She has a studio in Whitefield where she does portraits. For more information, log on to: http://rachna-shukla.artistwebsites.com

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 9:30:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/reviving-old-memories/article6280763.ece

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