A surreal dream: Exploring Delhi with Octavio Paz

Updated On Sep 21, 2014 12:57 PM IST
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A photo exhibition inspired by the poems of Octavio Paz makes you view Delhi through the Nobel Laureate's surreal verse.
Updated on Sep 21, 2014 12:57 PM IST

A photo exhibition inspired by the poems of Octavio Paz makes you view Delhi through the Nobel Laureate's surreal verse.

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Knowing that I was being sent to India consoled me a little: rituals, temples, cities whose names evoked strange tales, motley and multicolored crowds, women with feline grace..." wrote Octavio Paz when he was informed about his transfer to India. Paz was working on a modest job at the Mexican Embassy in Paris in 1951 and was angered by his sudden transfer. His stay in the country was short lived. The intriguing land, nevertheless, drew him back 11 years later, but this time he returned as the Mexican Ambassador of India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Afghanistan. From the series based on the poem The Balcony (Photo: Subrata Biswas)
Updated on Sep 21, 2014 12:57 PM IST

Knowing that I was being sent to India consoled me a little: rituals, temples, cities whose names evoked strange tales, motley and multicolored crowds, women with feline grace..." wrote Octavio Paz when he was informed about his transfer to India. Paz was working on a modest job at the Mexican Embassy in Paris in 1951 and was angered by his sudden transfer. His stay in the country was short lived. The intriguing land, nevertheless, drew him back 11 years later, but this time he returned as the Mexican Ambassador of India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Afghanistan. From the series based on the poem The Balcony (Photo: Subrata Biswas)

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In the Nobel laureate's birth centenary year, Instituto Cervantes, the Spanish cultural centre in New Delhi, presents the Mexican poet's work in new light- using photographic eyes to interpret poems that Paz wrote during his stay in Delhi. The project entitled Fotopoesía: Octavio Paz en la India (Photopoetry: Octavio Paz in India), showcases the interpretation by two young photographers of Paz's vivid surrealistic verses and penetrating social essays. From the series based on the poem The Balcony (Photo: Subrata Biswas)
Updated on Sep 21, 2014 12:57 PM IST

In the Nobel laureate's birth centenary year, Instituto Cervantes, the Spanish cultural centre in New Delhi, presents the Mexican poet's work in new light- using photographic eyes to interpret poems that Paz wrote during his stay in Delhi. The project entitled Fotopoesía: Octavio Paz en la India (Photopoetry: Octavio Paz in India), showcases the interpretation by two young photographers of Paz's vivid surrealistic verses and penetrating social essays. From the series based on the poem The Balcony (Photo: Subrata Biswas)

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"He wasn't just a diplomat visiting India. He was an intellectual-diplomat; an explorer who was intrigued by its history and culture," said Jesús Clavero-Rodríguez, cultural manager, Instituto Cervantes, who has curated the exhibition. (Photo: Adil Hasan)
Updated on Sep 21, 2014 12:57 PM IST

"He wasn't just a diplomat visiting India. He was an intellectual-diplomat; an explorer who was intrigued by its history and culture," said Jesús Clavero-Rodríguez, cultural manager, Instituto Cervantes, who has curated the exhibition. (Photo: Adil Hasan)

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Of this complex nation made up, in Paz's view, of two different religions and cultures, he wrote: "They have lived together, but their coexistence has been one of rivalry, full of suspicions, threats, and silent resentments that frequently have turned into bloodshed." (Photo: Adil Hasan)
Updated on Sep 21, 2014 12:57 PM IST

Of this complex nation made up, in Paz's view, of two different religions and cultures, he wrote: "They have lived together, but their coexistence has been one of rivalry, full of suspicions, threats, and silent resentments that frequently have turned into bloodshed." (Photo: Adil Hasan)

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Subrata Biswas, who shot The Balcony and The Mausoleum of Humayun series, believes the poet is a silent witness to the history of the city. "Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition," Paz wrote in Labyrinth of Solitude. While Adil Hasan's photos accentuate the adjectives Paz used in his poetry, Biswas took a more linear approach and visualised details of poems. Writer Sudeep Sen's poem on Paz also features as part of the show. Here's Paz on one of the city's favourite monuments. From the series based on the poem The Mausoleum of Humayan (Photo: Subrata Biswas)
Updated on Sep 21, 2014 12:57 PM IST

Subrata Biswas, who shot The Balcony and The Mausoleum of Humayun series, believes the poet is a silent witness to the history of the city. "Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition," Paz wrote in Labyrinth of Solitude. While Adil Hasan's photos accentuate the adjectives Paz used in his poetry, Biswas took a more linear approach and visualised details of poems. Writer Sudeep Sen's poem on Paz also features as part of the show. Here's Paz on one of the city's favourite monuments. From the series based on the poem The Mausoleum of Humayan (Photo: Subrata Biswas)

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Delhi, two tall syllables- as observed by Paz- has seen regimes rise and fall. "Through his poems, Paz digs deep inside the soul of the city, layer by layer, deconstructing this historic city with his words," said Jesús. "The poems selected for the exhibition explore several subjects including Humayun's Tomb, the tomb of Amir Khusrau, Lodhi Garden and the walled city." From the series based on the poem The Mausoleum of Humayan (Photo: Subrata Biswas)
Updated on Sep 21, 2014 12:57 PM IST

Delhi, two tall syllables- as observed by Paz- has seen regimes rise and fall. "Through his poems, Paz digs deep inside the soul of the city, layer by layer, deconstructing this historic city with his words," said Jesús. "The poems selected for the exhibition explore several subjects including Humayun's Tomb, the tomb of Amir Khusrau, Lodhi Garden and the walled city." From the series based on the poem The Mausoleum of Humayan (Photo: Subrata Biswas)

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