Capturing a folk story

Capturing a folk story

Photographer K Venkatesh never lets his camera rest. Known for his adventurous shots with the camera, Venkatesh has captured and documented the life of a disappearing tribe in Uttara Kannada district known as Halakki Vokkaligas.

In fact, he held an exhibition Chitrakalaat  Kala Parishat recently.
Venkatesh has spent a considerable amount of time with the Halakki Vokkaliga tribes just to understand their lifestyle and food habits. He found their culture quite fascinating.

“It’s interesting how people of the old generation still work hard to keep the culture and tradition intact but the younger ones don’t take as much interest in doing so. They have discarded their old attire and have taken to modern ways of dressing and food habits,” Venkatesh says.

It wasn’t easy for Venkatesh to get the older folk in the tribe to open up. “They are a very superstitious lot. They wear so much jewellery and every single chain signifies something.

These chains are passed on from one generation to another but neither do the present generation wear them nor do they preserve them,” explains Venaktesh. He further states that the only people wearing the jewellery now are those who are above 50 years. “I think the tribe will disappear with this generation.

The older women talk about how they are finding it hard to convince young girls and boys to fall in line with their tradition. Times have changed and the younger lot yearn to move away from the traditional setup. Their language, eating practices, songs and dances, the way they spend their free time... everything has changed or disappeared,” he shares. 

All of Venkatesh’s projects stem from what he sees and experiences around him. “Human interest stories interest me and these are stories that don’t get told or noticed. When I heard that this was a fast-disappearing tribe, I decided to probe in and dig out interesting stories,” he shares.
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