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Mar 19, 2014

India through the lens of Rajah Biswanath

Payanam, in the Dravidian language of Tamil, means journey.  It is also the name of a photo exhibit that will be launched at the Image Factory on Friday.  The collection of images depicting the people, places and cultural diversity of India was compiled by photographer Rajah Biswanath who, over the course of a twenty-two day visit to Hindustan, captured as many of its sights as possible.  The shortlist, a powerful display of the country’s sweeping sights, tell the story of the Hindus.  According to Biswanath, the idea was to highlight the rich history, as well as the range of Indian life.

 

Rajah Biswanath, Curator, Payanam: Life’s Journey

Rajah Biswanath

“I have a great passion for India and I felt that the exposure of India is not adequately done and especially in Belize, I felt that a lot of people knew about the Indians living in Belize but in my thirteen years I never saw anybody showing anything about India.  Therefore, I felt that I should take the initiative, which I did, and took a lot of pictures showing every minute detail.  But I could have gone further on if only I stayed in India for about six months, but this I managed to do it in twenty-two days.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of the images, what are they portraying in terms of either a cultural expression or an artistic expression or a social expression of India?”

 

Rajah Biswanath

“Actually, when you look at anything here you will see that there is cultural, there is tradition, there is value, there is scenic and also you can see how the carvers carved those temples and how scientifically they have done it, which mind boggles because when you look at the Butter Ball you will be wondering that the ball can roll but for me, I’ve known that ball being there for over half a century.  It has never moved, and when I take the big temple, how it was built because the way that dome was kept it’s about eighty-two point eight tons and on top of that it is two hundred and sixty-six feet high and it’s built in such a way that the reflection of the sun doesn’t fall on the ground.  Even the western physicists, scientists, everybody is wondering how they could have done this many, many years ago.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“How important is this exhibit to Belizeans, in terms of getting an understanding of India and its people?”

 

Rajah Biswanath

“It might not be, I’m not saying it is anything but every Belizean when you see this kind of exhibition, one thing I definitely wanted Belizeans to know about is that India is huge.  So you have got in Belize some of the qualities that are projected here and also it shows that picture where the women are planting the rice, that shows how essential manual labor is important.  And the other thing which I was trying to project in the exhibit, you have to satisfy yourself and you have to strive and when I say in India, anybody, everybody, the simplicity and everything but in the morning when you see the people they are always happy.  The smile, the looks and everything makes your day.”

 

The exhibit opens at the Image Factory Art Gallery on Friday evening.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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