Introduction

‘Every human being is an artist, a freedom being, called to participate in transforming and reshaping the conditions, thinking, and structures that shape and inform our lives.’

~ Joseph Beuys (German artist and educator)

It’s always exciting to be a performer, to have hidden talents recognised, to be asked for an opinion, to be in the limelight and feel special, to know that there are ways to do this creatively without too many resources. The women and students will show that this is possible. They will show a pride and joy and a window to their rapidly shrinking and threatened world. Also that people who produce food for us, who are the guardians of tradition and land, are people. It’s vital to relate to and respect them. To see their tremendous strengths and challenges. We need to take off our convenient blinkers. We need to know that there is visual beauty in the rural that does not need an urban person to bring out. Local communities are most capable of doing it. We need to speak through this medium and have the world see their micro cosmos, to know that lines of privilege can be crossed, that art galleries are spaces where art and reality can coexist and serve to shape our world views, our aesthetics and our lives. That’s why we are doing this.

Given that the public will be a motley bunch of Bangaloreans and some out-of-state, what I’d like them to understand is that these are youth and women from a different space than themselves, who are deep, who have dreams and aspirations like everyone else, who are keepers of the land and land ethics but who are also at the edge. They have an eye and talent too. Perhaps more than artists who have access to fancy equipment and peer groups. I would want people who come to the Land and Lens Exhibition to do so without pity or a patronising attitude. They are going to be looking at the work and play of those who have primary links with the land. And the camera is a third eye they have used to bring this to the city. It is the bridge between the rural and urban. And people hopefully experience this and are able to cross that bridge—the land and lens. Not one or the other but both in symphony with each other—and a sense of wonder and celebration, while connecting with some of the core issues which are part of the narrative. That it’s not random nice pictures placed at the exhibition, but each photo is a step in crossing the bridge in entering the story.

~ S. Rao

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