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The Living Tradition of India

An Exhibition of Photographs by Jyoti Bhatt

12th Sep.1997 - 25th Sep.1997

Matighar, IGNCA


Photograph from Jyoti Bhatt's Collection

One of IGNCA's many activities is to view photography as an art. Since 1992 many exhibitions of sensitive photographers from all over the world - such as those of Francisco D'Orazi(Italy), Martha Strawn(USA), Cartier Bresson (France), Raja Deen Dayal (India), David Ulrich (USA), Sebastiana Papa (Italy), Sunil Janah (India), Ashvin Mehta (India), Robyn Beeche (Australia), have been held.


Photograph from Jyoti Bhatt's Collection


Continuing the chain of exhibitions the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts presents a selection of photographs of Jyoti Bhatt, an eminent photographer from Baroda, in collaboration with National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai.

Deeply impressed by Anand Coomaraswamy's Mediaeval Sinhalese Art, Jyoti Bhatt realised that the art of a traditional society has many strands which reinforce one another. Each work of art provides an avenue of creativity, and refines human sensibilities and responses. Living within a creative network, an individual artist attains a special stature and refinement. The Disappearance of the network, with the breakdown of traditional cultures, is bound to cause cultural impoverishment and disorientation.

Jyoti Bhatt spends a lot of time recording the village arts with great understanding and aesthetic sensibility. He has visually recorded the whole heritage of Rangoli. Rangoli was perhaps introduced in Gujarat through Maharashtra during the rule of Gaekwads. Today, during Diwali there is a common practice of decorating the floors with handdrawn Rangoli is a sing of auspiciousness, in South-India Kolam is a daily ritual.

Photograph from Jyoti Bhatt's Collection Photograph from Jyoti Bhatt's Collection
Photography is unique in so far as the camera has the ability to freeze a decisive moment, or even the fraction of a moment. Whether an artist or a photographer, the approach to life or landscape is similar. They do not miss the opportunity to synthesise human figures with static background that show painted, or drawn, images on walls or floors. The reason to include human forms, landscape, birds or animals is to give a sense of scale to the art forms recorded. Such contents also generate important information, not only of the art forms but of the human beings directly associated with them. They need not be candid photographs; in fact, the intentions are to record some of the racial and ethnic characteristics of another fellow staring consciously into the camera-lens of the photographer.


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