Memories in sepia tones

Local artist Masuram Ravinkanth is popular amongst art enthusiasts for his strong affinity for the past. Anecdotes from history, as well from his personal background often reflect in his creative oeuvre. As part of the Krishnakriti festival, the present show accentuates this year’s theme ‘Heritage and Urban cultures’.

Another photograph from the series, where the artist has used archival prints of the original pictures and painted manually. The additions and superimposed juxtapositions made by him extend their periphery and alter them visually as well as on thematic aspects.

In a day where clicking pictures is an integral function on every mobile phone, photography is a reflex rather than a result of contemplated action, Masuram recreates the era of photo studios. These hallowed places provided people with an opportunity to mark important events and record portraits of family members in a concrete form. “My connection with photography dates back to my childhood when I used to linger around my father’s photo studio frequently. As a result I was often photographed by him and also collected some precious memories that have become the core of my creative impetus,” he says.

Artist Masuram Ravikanth.

An enlarged picture from the artist’s rendezvous with his father’s studio is placed on a wall in the gallery. It instantly gets noticed for its size as well as for its endearing pleasantness wherein the artist as a small kid, bespectacled and carrying a book and a huge pen looks innocently towards the camera. “The present show is an attempt to look at the practice of studio photography through two sets of photographs; the first one being family photographs clicked in my father’s studio some 40 years ago and the second being the vintage photographs from the 19th and early 20th centuries from the Kalakriti archive,” he explains.

Both sets of works are archival prints of the original pictures on which the artist has painted manually. The additions and superimposed juxtapositions made by him extend their periphery and alter them visually as well as on thematic aspects. The inclusion of excerpts from the paintings of well known artists such as M.F Husain, T. Vaikuntham and others, weaves two distinct time periods and contexts together in one visual. 

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