The ultimate funk

The ultimate funk

In continuation of his show ‘Wanderlust’ on Rabaris tribe from Kutch in Gujarat, fashion photographer Rohit Chawla has come up with an exhibition on global nomads, who travel to Goa every winter.

Global nomad generally refers to those who are living an international lifestyle – acquired by travelling to different  parts of the world – and travel from one country to another without a permanent home or job. With time, their ties to their country of origin are lessened.

Impressed and inspired by their “funky raggedness”, energy and dressing sense as if ‘walking the ramp of life’, the photographs on display at Religare art Gallery, Saket, were shot at makeshift studios in Goa. His subjects are all nomadic with a strong and striking, natural and eclectic sense of style.

Though the pictures are ‘posed’ against a white background, the photographer has captured the ‘tribe’, which comes annually to India having travelled the world over, in their original avatar with fur and bows; lace and leather; tattoos and moles intact. The photographer has met them in various markets of Goa and asked them to come to his house for the shoot using a white wall as a backdrop.

Rugged, stylish, bohemian, emotive, stylish – all these words at the same time, define these nomads. The photographs, largely portraits, of Goa Style appear to capture the global avatar of the naga sadhus.

“This series reflect a tribe that will soon disappear if we let them. These nomads follow the religion of random and live forever in a state of bohemia,” says Rohit, who shot these nomads as they were without stylising them. They are from countries like East Ireland, Sweden, Israel and create their clothes on their own. They have acquired their sense of style by travelling to global hotspots. But each year, they spend four months in Goa.

“As my lens met them in the bylanes and on beaches of Goa I couldn’t help but get infected by their funky raggedness for without these people, Goa has no funk, and without funk what are we?,” asks Rohit, who organised this ongoing exhibition with fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani, who is planning to do a whole show on this similar to his collection based on Rabaris.

“These men and women can’t even explain to themselves why they travel to Goa like migratory birds every winter and why they dress up to walk the ramp of life?” he adds.

The large-size images have been printed on materials such as wood, metal, transparent acrylic and wallpapers. Though the photos were shot in Goa, the exhibition does not transport the viewer to the locale of the state for the background is pure white.

“Greaseless, clean, lifeless blobs, wearing the same clothes, driving the same cars and living the same life. They are not looking for applause or magazine covers. All I know is that they breathe a fresher air, clear of prejudice, free of dirt and mental baggage that often cloud our vision. Their lives and loves are the ultimate rebellious acts and the ultimate funk,’’ he says. The exhibition is on till March 20.

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