Unravelling enigma

LENS ART

Unravelling enigma

On a rainy day Saba Hasan walked down to the water reservoir in Hauz Khas village near her house.

Lost in the sound of the droplets merging with the water in the lake, she approached a tree half submerged in this reservoir and nearly slipped in the mud on the embankment. 

“I almost fell into the water to get this shot,” Hasan recalls drawing Metrolife’s appreciation for the brilliance in the frame composition that makes it difficult to categorise her work as a photograph.

The mystery continues in other works by Ravi Dhingra, Nin Taneja and Puja Bahri too as they decipher the word ‘Enigma’ (also the name of the exhibition).

The group photography exhibition sees the four artists present their definition of ‘enigma’ through different subjects. 

While Puja Bahri heightens the curiosity by clicking the ascetics performing mysterious rites, Ravi Dhingra chooses the ‘veil’ to express the same.

In one of the photographs captured by Dhingra, a man walks on top of a translucent pink shamiana set up for a wedding. 

“I didn’t go to cover the wedding. I had been commissioned by the wedding planner to document their work for a coffee table book and happened to take this shot of a man who had climbed up to repair something,” says Dhingra.

The sole male photographer explores ‘enigma’ through opaque and transparent veils.

In a photograph capturing dancers in a swirl, Dhingra plays with two colours red and black as he shoots the Odissi dancer Kiran Sehgal in a fusion performance.

His other works also use the technique of photomontage such as the one where a girl’s face is applied with make-up behind a screen. 

“Make up is also a veil for we transform the face by covering it with a cosmetic layer,” he adds.  
       Nin Taneja on the other hand developed her art of capturing birds in a distinct style.

She shoots the drongo bird in the complex of the Golden Temple.

In the process, she captures the temple architecture from a never-before-seen angle. 

“I saw the drongo go to the sarovar, catch a fish and come back to the tree to eat its prey. After seeing the whole drama for quite some time, I photographed these birds on the tree and the temple also became a part of the frame,” says Taneja.

While the narrative behind these shots unravel the enigma created by the final artworks, it is significant to mention that Hasan doesn’t “look for a narrative but for a mood”. 

Her photographs can therefore be mistaken as her canvases with abstract colours brightening the white sheets or films.

The exhibition is on display at Arpana Caur Academy of Fine Arts & Literature, Siri Fort till November 16.  

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