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A Canvas of Motions © Arun Inham
A Canvas of Motions
By Arun Inham
Indian photography has largely been confined by the styles and gaze introduced by the colonial masters who brought photography to India immediately after its invention in the 1820s. Even today, any photograph that elucidates immediate response – be it exotic or a shrilling image of a tragic moment attracts the attention of the galleries and traders. In the West, there have been many divergent styles within photography, its technique, and practices. Here, only photographs that fall within a narrow range of formats enjoy a viewership and are patronized. Steering away from these confines and carving a special niche is important to fully explore the potential of this medium. In India, there have been very few photo artists including myself who have deliberately tried to break the boundaries. In recent years, many young Indian artists have begun exploring the experimental dimension of Photography. Though late, this is a promising threshold as far as Indian photographic practice is concerned.
Arun Inham is a young artist based in Vadakkara, Kerala. In 2016, he developed an interest in photography and started documenting his surroundings. During the pandemic lockdown, he worked on a body of work titled A Canvas of Motions. This work combines photography, theatre, sculpture, and performance. The constructed still-life photographs are experimental and creative. It is possible to find the influences of other artists in his works. However, it reveals the personal trauma of the pandemic locked up times. It is dark, non-graphical, deeply personal, regional, and intriguing. In his first, A Canvas of Motions was showcased at the Images of Encounter online group exhibition.
– The Editor
A Canvas of Motions © Arun Inham
Arun Inham is an artist based in Kerala. For the last four years, he has been working as a documentary photographer, theatre artist, and journalist. His first exhibition was a group show titled Images of Encounter, presented online by Ekalokam Trust for Photography.
Abul Kalam Azad is a contemporary Indian photographer and Founder Chairman of Ekalokam Trust for Photography. He is also Editor-in-Chief of PhotoMail Magazine. Abul’s photographic works are predominantly autobiographical and explore the areas of politics, culture, contemporary micro-history, gender, and eroticism. His works attempt a re-reading of contemporary Indian history – the history in which ordinary people are absent and mainly provided by beautiful images and icons.
Published on August 4, 2020
A Canvas of Motions
Young photographer Arun Inham's A Canvas in Motion combines photography, theatre, and performance, is one of those projects that fall within the scope of now-trending experimental and conceptual photography practices. This body of work was done during the pandemic lockdown period. Confined within a small space, he interestingly stages objects and stitches them together as an image. These works were showcased at the Images of Encounter online group exhibition, which would be Arun Inham's first show.
Metamorphosis by Shanthi Kasi
Walls have been featured as subjects, or at least as integral parts of broader subjects, by many artists across various media, owing to its metaphorical significance, its role as a visual and spatial block, and also what its surface holds. Shanthi Kashi’s concern is the surface of these walls, on which the artist observes patterns, forms, and colours and composes them to achieve – not necessarily literal – meaning. Shot in Mumbai and Bangalore, Shanthi also merges an abstract language with some very real phenomena related to the individual, geography and society through the presence of moisture, decay, erasure and abandonment.
Bollywood Ecstasy by Jai Singh
For about half its life, the Indian film industry has been dominated by Bollywood, at least in terms of presence in society, popularity and scale of productions. Bombay took over as the major center of film production in India from Calcutta, and gave birth to the Bollywood – the name itself is a clear homage to the ideal it aspired to. Bollywood has since dictated the imagination of the majority of the middle class of the country, directly and indirectly; and in this aspect, the presence of the still photographer in the set is often underestimated.
Stairs to Nowhere by Pee Vee
Stairs to Nowhere is an opportunity to see the side effects of urbanisation. With complex migration and bloating population in the cities, there is a huge focus on development of infrastructure. In the name of development, we ended up razing old structures most of the times for larger projects; say the likes of highway expansion, metro train building, or sometimes even building an extra room in our homes. Stairs to Nowhere is an extrapolation of such developments, which interpret the current scenario to the near future, where we will have NO PLACE TO GO. Stairs to Nowhere is an ongoing project.
Swan Song of the Badlas By Taha Ahmad
Mukaish Badla is a form of embroidery, which at its peak flourished in the Indian city of Lucknow. At its peak in the 18th century, the art form travelled to different parts of the world, but is now restricted to a few narrow lanes of the old city of Lucknow. The art was introduced, by the Nawabs who ruled the city, to beautify another form of embroidery called chickankari — which still persists in the Indian subcontinent. Mukaish, however, ended up becoming an independent style and flourished across the city in the past.
Three Stories from Rahul S Ravi
Indian Jews, a small ethnic community, gradually diminishing in numbers, maintain their cultural identity in an otherwise deeply divided society such as India. Jews are believed to have come to India as long as two thousand years ago and now find themselves divided into different small groups. Being a microscopic endogamous community with strict religious and social traditions, most of the Jews find it difficult to maintain their unique culture and therefore, either acculturated with the larger Indian communities or migrated to foreign countries, mainly Israel. There are now barely five thousand Jews, in an Indian population of approximately nine hundred million in all. But those Indian Jews who still live in India or migrated to other countries, however small their number, struggle to maintain their distinct cultural identity—the Indian Jewish Identity.
Crucifixion : Body and Spirit By Hariharan Subrahmanian
Crucifixion : Body and Spirit was born out of the photographer'sneed to confront a horrific spectre that has started to haunt human kind. Response from society to this rotten absurdity is more alarming than the crime itself… blaming the betrayed, rather than the betrayer. The pictures in the media are all of the bruised, battered and torn bodies of the stalked, hunted, molested and raped till death flowers. They are visible to us , veiled as they are, by foggy filters, which decide that we are fickle to see the bloody meatiness of the aftermath of a bacchanalian orgy we ourselves have perpetrated and indulged in to our cocks’ hilt. The original innocence of the betrayed femininity is what matters more. That is what haunts the photographer. The eyes of the spirit within them, that gazes fixedly and unblinkingly… demanding to know why the trust was betrayed..!! You may mutilate the body to your wildest end; but the haunting gaze of her spirit’s eyes bores into you and you wake up in cold sweat to a scorching heat that scalds and sears you. The spirit of the betrayed child can never sleep again.
Of Wines and Vines by Anila Gill
This series of Vineyard workers started taking shape when photographer Anila joined the team of grape-pickers of her neighbour and friend winemaker Pascal Potaire (Les Capriades) in September 2013. She had recently settled in the country side of Central France and, after months spent indoors, she felt exhilarated by the contact with nature in the Vineyard. She had to be up early and start the hard physical labour, which had rhythmic stretch, bend, stretch and bend movements... the feet and hand touching the soil. The amazing body and mind energy it created, as well as the bounding between the members of this motley crew of various marginal backgrounds, inspired Anila to capture and document the synergy. As she was also working, the remaining moments for the photographic project were left to the poses. Thus, after progressing slowly and painfully between the ranks, the relieved standing pauses of the Vineyard workers. A global village of grounded, yet often uprooted workers has come into light, as she learned that the vines, in their wild form, are not meant to creep on the ground but to grow free and entangled, in the forests and jungles.