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Images of female power


BLACKNESS PERVADES through Abul Kalam Azad's frames. His photographs never communicate directly to you. Perhaps, he wants his viewers to have their own readings of his photographs.

The exhibition of photographs by Azad, `Black Mother' is currently on at the Kashi Art Cafe, Fort Kochi.

This is the third series that Azad worked on. The preceding ones being `Divine Facades' and `Goddesses'. This time, he has captured the mood of the Bharani festival at Kodungaloor.

"I tried to work on the power of women as it existed in the Dravidian concept of mother goddess. Shot over a couple of years from 2000 onwards, these pictures are created through a complicated printing process,'' said Azad.

There are seven of them - big and dark. The 40''x40'' bromoil prints created in the Studios at Westferry, London 2002 is being premiered here. Azad does not restrict with himself to experiments on compositions, he goes a step ahead by manipulating the final prints. "He constantly pushed the edge of photography to move beyond the real, to capture striking images that confronted the viewer with starkness.

He had constantly worked over these images with linear graphics,'' is what Suresh Jayaram has to say about Azad's works. However, in this series, what strikes one is that Azad tries to create an impression on the viewer by sheer dimension.

A black and white photograph of this size would simply overwhelm the viewer for a moment, the message reaches him only after. His experience as a photojournalist with the Press Trust of India (PTI) also gives a `newsy' edge to his compositions. Azad had his higher studies in France and the Surrey Institute of Art and Design, United Kingdom. The exhibition is on till April 10.

By Anand Haridas

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