Imagining the Realm of the Real
Is life just a sum of accidental coincidences? If so, what is the role of our own decisions and free will in determining the course of our lives? Are our encounters with unknown people and unseen places just chance meetings or created moments? Encounters with unknown people and unseen places could have played a key role in turning many of our lives upside down. The whole of humanity has just encountered an invisible virus that has shaken our foundational structures and systems.
Cambridge dictionary gives various meanings to the word 'encounter'. The first known use of the word is recorded in the Common Era 14th century when it was used to denote a meeting with an adversary or enemy. The word, which has roots in Latin, has been influenced by later French and then the English. In the current scenario, encounter finds a place not just in war or conflict but also a plethora of normal affairs, including a chance meeting with a strange person, a romantic or sexual fling, an unexpected business hurdle, among others.
Artists can be counted among the few whose lives are shaped more by coincidences rather than other factors. A new idea or inspiration could be the result of a chance meeting with a person or a thought. This brings the lives of photographers to the very center of the word encounter. Out in the field or inside the darkroom (digital or analog), a photographer's unexpected meeting with incidents determines the outcome of his/her work. Some of them can be pleasant while some others can be depressing. Whatever they may be, these unexpected incidents play a crucial role in determining the path threaded by a photographer. Our exhibition, Images of Encounter, focuses on works that tell stories of such chance meetings or planned encounters, or even imagined ones.
Images of Encounter is conceived and curated by the Ekalokam Trust for Photography (EtP) based in South India. As a leading platform in India engaged in bringing together photographers working in diverse fields, EtP is committed to developing and following the best practices in the field of photographic art. With the COVID pandemic, the world, which we had known, experienced, and celebrated, has come to a total standstill. Nothing will ever be the same again. In our own little ways, individually or as a collective, each one of us has been confronting the pandemic and its aftermath. While the possibility of shutting down and cocooning ourselves in the cacophony of chaos and uncertainty was a rather tempting one, we at EtP have decided to step-up and connect with the fraternity. We have already launched Jugaad Foto Bazaar, an online portal for the sale of photographs to help artists tide over the COVID crisis. With the pandemic forcing the world to have a rethink on existing practices, the field of art is not an exception. Social distancing and locking up of public places have become the norm of the day across the world, forcing the public to stay indoors or restrict their movements. In this scenario, the field of art is also looking at digital spaces to stay in sync with the changing trends. Virtual collaborations and exhibitions are such avenues to bring together artists at this time of the pandemic.
Premiered as a virtual exhibition, we hope to collaborate with National/International galleries and organise Images of Encounter print exhibition post COVID.
Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi
Joyel K Pious
2018 – 19
Kerala—Kozhikode | Kochi, Thrissur | Karnataka—Bangalore | TamilNadu—Pukar
Elements & Fragments
Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata