Visit 20th century rural India at Jyoti Bhatt’s art show

DEC 27, 2017 | By Reecha Kulkarni
L-R: A girl poses by Mandana art in Rajasthan
Photography by Jyoti Bhatt; The photographer captures little priceless moments in rural India.

“I’m trying to learn Photoshop right now, but it’s a bit hard because I can’t see very well. I usually ask my assistant to help me with scrolling and reading menus. It’s great because the computer allows me to enlarge the photo so that I can see the different textures,” 83-year old artist and creative visionary, Jyoti Bhatt tells me during our telephonic interview. “If it’s improving my photo, it isn’t cheating – it is enhancing!”Learning never stopped for the legendary artist and photographer. While it began with him studying painting under the renowned artists N.S. Bendre and K.G. Subramanyan at MSU Baroda, he went on to explore mediums like mural painting, graphics, photography and holography amongst other arts. “Even though I enjoyed learning holography in the UK, it was hard for me to bring it back to India, especially since one needs to be atleast a kilometer away from the sound of traffic for it to work,” he chuckles. “I often find myself sketching as well, and although I do love painting, I tend to be selective in my art. I would exclude elements in the picture to make it look visually appealing. It was finally photography that seemed to fairly represent the world around me,” he says.Jyoti Bhatt brought to life the visual culture of quaint aspects in the villages of Gujarat, Rajasthan and other states in India. From shy mothers and over-enthusiastic children to typical film posters and outfits, the photographer takes us to the very core of rural life. “Videography was not easily available at that time, but I did try to capture the little nuances of culture in every photograph I took. For example, the South Indian ritual of creating ‘rangoli’ every morning is a beautiful form of art that has carried itself to the 21st century as well. We call it folk art or Indian art – but for most of these people, it was a way of life that needed to be preserved. And I wanted to share what I had seen, with the rest of the world.”Jyoti Bhatt will be displaying his work at Rukshaan Art Gallery in Mumbai, from 25 December, 2017 to 13 January, 2018.Where: Rukshaan Art Gallery, 2nd floor, Dresswalla House, 72, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Fort, Mumbai 23

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