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Panchtattva- The Road Ahead, a photography exhibition

A review of ‘Panchtattva …The Road Ahead’, a month-long photo exhibition at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi.

art and culture Updated: Nov 26, 2016 09:16 IST
Danish Raza
One of Shraddha Borawake’s series of images titled 7.83Hz Bound.
One of Shraddha Borawake’s series of images titled 7.83Hz Bound. (Shraddha Borawake/IHC)

Harikrishna Katragadda, a Mumbai based photographer spent the last eight months documenting pollution in river Ganga in two cities of Uttar Pradesh. In the holy city of Banaras, 45-years-old Katragadda, who holds a Masters in photojournalism from the University of Texas, Austin, focused on the affect of water pollution on the lives of boatmen and people from the dom community. In Kanpur, he captured health problems—rotten teeth, skin diseases and other ailments—among people living in villages on the periphery of the river. “Nothing has changed despite the Ganga Action Plan. Whatever the government has been doing is knee jerk reaction and not sustained efforts,” said Katragadda, who has titled his series of images ‘You cannot step into the river twice.’

Katragadda’s work along with that of three photographers viz Monica Tiwari, Shraddha Borawake and K R Sunil will be displayed at ‘Panchtattva …The Road Ahead’, a month-long photo exhibition at the India Habitat Centre.

A photograph from Monica Tiwari’s work titled Scars of the River (Monica Tiwari / IHC)

The four photographers were selected from a national call for application and were awarded Rs two lakh each by the India Habitat Centre. Four senior photographers became mentors to the awardees. The awardees selected themes related to ecology and sustainable development and worked on them with mentors.

The exhibition is part of Habitat Photosphere, a visual festival focusing on sustainable development with subjects including climate change, migration and the impact of uncontrolled development.

The exhibition will get over on December 31, but other components of Photosphere including show and tell presentations, film festival and a photo reader will continue between December and August 2017.

Panchtattva denotes five elements of universe- earth, water, fire, air and aether. “The idea is to focus on art to make a deep commitment to sensitise the public towards the need for a more sustainable process of development and protection of our increasingly fragile ecology and environment,” said Alka Pande, artistic director, Photosphere.

Delhi based photographer Monica Tiwari, one of the Photosphere awardees, shifted base to Kolkata for around four months to map the lifestyle changes in children of migrant parents in the Sunderbans. Her work brought her in close contact with people who leave for cities in search of employment opportunities leaving behind their children who are looked after by grandparents or reside in child care institutions. “I have documented the estrangement faced by these families,” said Tiwari. During her work for the project, Tiwari realised that climate change is not as dramatic a process as we think of it. “It is staring in our faces. It is here. You cannot wait for a wake-up call,” she said.

Harikrishna Katragadda’s work You Can’t Step into the Same River Twice. (Harikrishna Katragadda / IHC)

Shraddha Borawake, an NYU graduate from Pune undertook a collaborative installation work to provoke inquiry about planet earth.

KR Sunil, a sculptor by training, documented the importance and degradation of the ponds of Kerala.

According to Prabir Purkayastha, one of the mentors, working with the awardees was an eye opener. “When you work in isolation, you tend to believe that you know everything and you would not get surprised. But while working with the fresh talent, it was fascinating to find how different people bring in different perspectives to the same subject,” he said.

What: Photo exhibition: Panchtattva...the future ahead

Where: Outdoor spaces, IHC, Lodhi Road

When: December 1- 31, 2016

Call: 011- 24682002