This photographer patiently documented the native communities of Kutch over 30 years

Experience the lives of the native communities of Kutch through Arjan Rasadiya’s lens, at his solo exhibition ‘Chabi Sanskriti Kandar’, on display till August 26.

This photographer patiently documented the native communities of Kutch over 30 years

Ahmedabad-based and Amreli-born photographer Arjan Rasadiya has been fascinated by the life of tribal communities in Kutch. He has been capturing the essence of Kutchi life for 30 years now. In his solo exhibition Chabi Sanskriti Dankar, we see visual documentation of the lives of the Ahir, Rabari and Banni communities of Kutch.

During the opening of his solo exhibition Chabi Sanskriti Dankar on August 24, Rasadiya reminisced, “My journey started while covering a discourse by spiritual guru Morari Bapu. And my perspective of looking at subjects completely changed after meeting the photography guru of Gujarat, Pranlal Patel.” Patel, who has been a mentor and guide for hundreds of photographers, was known for his pre-Independence photos of freedom fighters like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The exhibition has been organised on the ground floor gallery of Ravishankar Raval Kala Bhavan.

 

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Rasadiya’s exhibition features 44 photographs on six different themes. Photographs of these tribes of Kutch constitute a significant part of his exhibition. But there is also a series of shots of birds and sunsets, and a collection of monochromatic photographs taken at the town of Idar, of gigantic rocks, described aptly by him as “Bhagvaan Na Banaavela Aakarshak Shilp” (astounding sculptures carved by God). A recipient of the Gujarat Lalitkala Akademi Award, Rasadiya has travelled to Idar several times over the past few years, in attempts to capture the natural beauty of these rock formations, so much so that many now fondly call him ‘Patthar Wale Arjan Patel’!

Back in 1983, at the age of 21, Arjan Rasadiya started practising commercial photography as a means of earning some pocket money, while studying at Sheth CN School of Fine Arts. It never struck him at the time that he would go on to immerse himself in art photography so judiciously that he would eventually organise more than 20 solo photography exhibitions within the span of a 30-year long artistic career. Rasadiya left commercial photography after becoming an art teacher at Diwan Ballubhai Shala. Since then, he has been exploring “pictorial photography”. His current project visually documents the life of the Bhil and Rathwa tribes of Chhota Udaipur and Madhya Pradesh. Rasadiya usually spends 6 to 7 years capturing a single subject.

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The Gujarat State Lalitkala Academy sponsored Rasadiya’s exhibition. It is open for viewing until August 26, between 12:00 PM to 08:00 PM. The show will then be travelling to Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai for a solo exhibit on October 31.

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