IN MATTANCHERRY SERIES - THE INAUGURAL EXHIBITION OF URU ART HARBOUR, CURATED BY RIYAS KOMU - KR SUNIL FINDS EXTRAORDINARY STORIES IN ORDINARY PEOPLE.
Sunil was born in Kodungallur in 1975. After receiving his National diploma in sculpture from Fine Arts College, Thrissur, he started actively pursuing art, writing and photography. Sunil picks out extraordinary personalities in the course of his study of the daily lives of common people and present them in photo features in contemporary media.
What marks Sunil’s art exceptional is his involvement in the sustained process of observation and documentation of the people he has come to notice. Environmentally sensitive spaces are another area that becomes the focus of his photographic projects.
Sunil’s photographic rendition of Ponnani, an old port town in Keral, was one of the noted exhibitions of the last Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Sunil has widely exhibited in India and abroad. He is currently involved in a cultural study and photo documentation project around the coastal villages facilitated by a travel and research grant from Uru.
My impressions of Mattancherry was informed by the widely available images and representations. But while shooting for “Mattancherry Series” all my perceptions shattered. I felt that every space is created to encourage cohabitation and togetherness, be it the reading rooms, or the many ‘waiting sheds’ or the tea shops and shifting corners. However, I also realised that Mattancherry has been exposed mostly through the quantity of its cultural diversity.
However, my work does not attempt to create new narratives or romanticise the ‘dark life’ but simply attempts to navigate the many Mattancherry’s and of its the contentment of life here that lie beyond cliches. My atttempt is to engage with the place through the life and times of its people. The people whose voices are unheard, their faces unseen, because they don’t attempt to stand out. They are the everyday people, the working class men and women trying to survive the present. They are the people who make Mattancherry.
"Mattancherry, the exhibition, seeks to not only move beyond the established microcosms but also to suggest the multi-layered aesthetic, cultural, social, and even abstract sentiments expressive of different multi-cultural perspectives - of looking at and seeing Mattancherry, the place through its people."
KR SUNIL is a photographer from Kodungallur, Kerala. He completed his BFA from Thrissur Fine Arts College. Sunil's works embody the inquiry of an ethnographer. He often cites this to him growing up listening to the stories of Muziris and its significance - as a place where cultures that often seem so widely divergent is, in fact, in constant contact and exchange with each other.
In 2016, he was awarded India Habitat Center's Photosphere grant for his work on the theme of "water". He has exhibited widely across India and participated in exhibitions including the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016, curated by Sudarshan Shetty. His work is currently on display at the year-end show curated by Suzanne Davies and Helen Reyment at the RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.
URU art harbour is a cultural hub situated at Kochi. URU seeks to be a space for collaboration and a continual hub for artistic, cultural, and intellectual exploration. Founded by Riyas Komu and Zoya Riyas.
Riyas Komu is one of the prominent political artists in the contemporary times. His works question the existing disturbances in the social order. Komu's works include sculptures, installations, paintings, video etc.
He finds extraordinary stories in ordinary people. Believes, you should be one of them; for that you should be the kind that loves humanity. He doesn’t carry fancy cameras, that would separate him from them.
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