The art of going with the flow

Filmmaker Sudevan Peringode watched water keenly and continuously for three years. Chronicling every ripple, drop and swell on camera, Sudevan now has a collection of over 3,000 images and 200 videos. Sixteen of the photographs are now on show at ‘Lokame Tharavadu’, a contemporary art exhibition on at Alappuzha.

The series of images are for Sudevan an exploration of his own relationship with water. He took to photographing it after the 2018 Kerala flood. While the deluge ravaged the State, it also brought ‘water’ to the forefront of public imagination. “It prompted me to look at water more closely. It revoked memories of a time when water was an integral part of existence,” says Sudevan. “Our lives were governed by the lack or abundance of it. During summers, we had to collect water from neighbouring wells when our own dried up and during the rains, our roof leaked.” Gradually, as the groundwater levels in his village improved, the wells continued to have water through the year and his house got a concrete roof insulating them from the monsoon’s fury. Water ceased to become a matter of concern. “I began to take it for granted, I stopped paying attention,” he says. In the series, Sudevan follows water through its many courses, over various surfaces and in stagnation. He photographed three ponds, a well, a stream and a field near his home in Peringode, documenting the natural seasonal changes these waterbodies underwent. “During summers, the density of the water in the pond changes and it taken on the colour of the vegetation around it,” Sudevan says. Fascinated by the play of light and movement, he photographed water through the day. “It greatly changes in colour and character. Soon after sun rise, it is a shade of yellow, but towards midday, it changes to green or blue depending on the mood of the sky. By nightfall, it takes on an inky opacity.”

The filmmaker, whose film CR No:89 won the 2014 Kerala State Award for Best Film, says he took a conscious break after his 2017 film Akatho Puratho. “I discovered the meditative quality of photographing water. It helped me enjoy the passage of each moment,” he says. Sudevan has used natural lighting and an ordinary lens to capture the images. He plans to showcase the works online after the show at Lokame Tharavadu.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 1:52:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/the-art-of-going-with-the-flow/article37890918.ece

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