01 February 2013
yesterday, went to this year’s Chobi Mela festival for the first time… it was more like an accidental visit than anything else…. this festival is one of my most favourite events every year…. I always try my best to visit the exhibits…. I’ve done that over the years with varying degrees of success, with the year 2012 being the worst one…. this year, I was not sure about managing time though, but luck at last shone one me and given me enough light to reach for the rest of the exhibit as well… lets see where it goes….
Drik Gallery had three exhibits there… the first floor exhibit was the outstanding portraying of African hairstyle culture by J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, titled “Get Your Hair Did“… I had to take a pause in front of this fabulous work… the huge size B&W prints had enough in them to captivate any viewer…. more than anything else, I was impressed by the uniqueness of the concept…. his work started in 1968, though it wasn’t mentioned when it ended or it ever… the photos looked like taken in one sitting in the same place, because of the consistency of the work all throughout…. the portraits also made good use of posing and light directions which avoided being monotonous… his grasp over lighting has to be admired…. it was interesting to see that he stuck with B&W, even though it seemed like some of the images had very colourful headgears…. anyway, this work can only be admired…. a truly soothing experience…
the second floor of Drik Gallery was pretty interesting in the sense that it was a father-son exhibit… the main exhibit was by an unusual artist, Richard Bartholomew, who was (expired in 1985) known as a writer, art critic, curator, painter and poet… but his views as a photographer were truly admirable… his photos were displayed as a collection after many decades… titled “A Critic’s Eye“, his views gave an idea of the art atmosphere that existed around him….
the other exhibit on the floor belonged to Richard’s son, Pablo Bartholomew, who is a very well-known photojournalist… titled “70s & 80s – OUTSIDE IN – A Tale of 3 Cities“, the exhibit is his personal documentation of the changing Indian society in the two decades… some the photos were quite intimate and represented the nature of the decades and their infiltration into Indian city life… I thought there could’ve been a parental guidance warning there at the entrance of Pablo’s exhibit….
Bengal Gallery was just too close to Drik to miss out…. so, crossed the road a went straight in…. it was about some heart-wrenching personal experiences of the American soldiers and their families who were affected by the Iraq War… stories included dead soldiers, soldiers who barely survived or lived with injuries, suffered severe mental trauma, or even deserted from the military… Eugene Richards‘s exhibit was entitled “War is Personal“, which had the ability to touch anyone…. I heard some critics talking about one side of the story only (only American, not Iraqi)…. but that would give an idea of the immaturity of some part of the audience visiting…. depth of work is a term that would be beyond them…. some part of the exhibit was hard to look at to be honest…. but that how wars are…. wars are always 18+….
anyway, it was a nice evening’s exploits…. lets see how far I can go with the rest of the festival…. with just 6 days of the festival remaining, and no more weekends coming up, it won’t be easy for sure!!
did you visit the exhibit yet?…. what was your experience from it?