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Home > Brush With Art > At Sakshi Gallery: Pablo Bartholomeo's 'Pictures of Joy'

At Sakshi Gallery: Pablo Bartholomeo's 'Pictures of Joy'

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Francis H. D’Sa scratches the emulsion off Pablo Bartholomeo’s black and white prints exhibition, ‘The Calcutta Diaries’ and tries to find out what makes him tick

‘The Calcutta Diaries,' is an exhibition of photographs from the archives of Pablo Bartholomew focusing on his years in Calcutta in the mid 1970s on April 5, 2014.

The suite includes his documentation of the Haka Chinese community of South Calcutta, his interaction with Satyajit Ray during the shooting of his cult classic Shatranj ke Khiladi, images of his aging grandmother and narratives of the 'City of Joy.'

Here he speaks exclusively to ADC about his work over the years:

How much has the influence of Satyajit Ray been on you?
I think Ray's influence has been monumental. It taught me the economy of work. How if you really are the master of many crafts, you can mix them into creating in the most economical and layered manner. It was an education to see how this man wrote his scripts, directed, composed music, designed the sets and shot the film. Working at every level from editing to sound, he was totally involved. It was a way of also understanding and knowing that I did not want to go in the cinema but remain with photography.

How different are you from the works of your father?
There are multiple threads that overlap and in fact I am working towards an exhibition that shows both our work side by side.
Most of this was discovered by my in 2006 when I started to go through his work finally after it sat around for with me for over 20 years after his death in 1985.

A few words about the relationship between you and your father.
Close yet distant. Dualities existed. He was a quiet man who never instructed but all the tools and know how were around at home and it was the meeting ground for many artists and photographers that he knew so it was a fertile place to learn by watching and experimenting on ones own.
Ongoing at Sakshi Gallery.

“His engagement with the Haka Chinese community in the Tangra area, this group who lived, owned and ran leather tanneries -- and in a diminished way still does – was his first endeavour to document a community in transition, coming to terms with themselves, marginal, closed but proud, and friendly. It was also a way to look at his mixed Indian and Burmese origins and find away to deal with these churnings in his late teens and early twenties.”

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