Photographer SC Shekhar’s exhibition of photographs, called “Faith” at the Capital’s Shridharani Gallery, captured some incredible facets of India’s spiritual greatness. Be it Kailash Mansarovar, Maha Kumbh, Fatehpur Sikri, Varanasi or Hampi, his glossy suite of works straddles myriad shades of faith, within the sacred spaces of sadhus, of worshippers, of the corridors of silence in a monastery, and a series of stunning landscapes and still life images.
The exhibition “Faith” brings alive the words of Mark Twain: “Banares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks as twice as old as all of them put together.” When asked how it all began, says the artist, “I travelled as a pilgrim to Kailash and Mansarovar, visited the Maha Kumbh in 2013 and made trips to Varanasi in search of faith as an experience.” “Each experience gave me a richness of space of time. Dawn at Varanasi was different from dusk. The light in Varanasi changes like a fabric that celebrates the colours of the sky and the sun,” added the artist.
At a time of religious polarisation for political ends, this exhibition is unique
If the Maha Kumbh Mela Series of photographs captures a search for Salvation, his Varanasi series evokes stunning still lifes where as Mannat—a quartet - is a sombre study of the four places of prayer, Djinns of Feroz Shah Kotla, an image of little cradles tied to a tree in South India, divine intervention for a child at the famous Salim Chishti and threads of hope at Fatehpur Sikri.
A strange sense of calmness, serenity and an unexplained devotion are contained in and reflected by his Kailash and Mansarovar series of photographs. The tucked away monastery, the experience of travelling with Shankaracharya of Hampi and the devotion and beliefs of people from multiple faith, in their spiritual journey—all become a part of one canvas of faith in his brilliantly clicked photographs. At a time when religions are radicalised, vandalised and polarised for various socio-political gains, this exhibition assumed a different significance too.