Walls and Floors – The Living Tradition of Village India

Photography is unique in so far as the camera has the ability to freeze a decisive moment, or even the fraction of a moment. Whether an artist or a photographer, the approach to life or landscape is similar. They do not miss the opportunity to synthesise human figures with static backgrounds that show painted, or drawn, images on walls or floors. One of IGNCA’s many activities is to view photography as an art. Since 1992 many exhibitions of sensitive photographers from all over the world have been held.

Continuing the chain of exhibitions the IGNCA presented a selection of photographs of Jyoti Bhatt, an eminent photographer from Baroda, in collaboration with National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai.

Deeply impressed by Anand Coomaraswamy’s Medieval Sinhalese Art, Jyoti Bhatt realised that the art of a traditional society has many strands which reinforce one another. Each work of art provides an avenue of creativity, and refines human sensibilities and responses. Living within a creative network, an individual artist attains a special stature and refinement. The disappearance of the network, with the breakdown of traditional cultures, is bound to cause cultural impoverishment and disorientation.

Jyoti Bhatt spends a lot of time recording the village arts with great understanding and aesthetic sensibility. He has visually recorded the whole heritage of Rangoli. Rangoli was perhaps introduced in Gujarat through Maharashtra during the rule of Gaekwads. Today, during Diwali there is a common practice of decorating the floors with hand drawn Rangoli, which is a sign of auspiciousness. In South-India Kolam is a daily ritual.


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