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Peemakumari has been living alone for years in an old building in Mattancherry. A rickety building that has doors which are closed with old sacks. I saw her once sitting with a number of cats. The cats ran away seeing me, a few stood at a distance with caution.
In a way, all these icons, symbols, sites, figures and images are all out of their place and time, it is as if they are all gathered here to create certain intersections of memory, thought and feeling to prompt reactions and reflections in us.
Lakshmikutty Amma is called Vanamuthassi, The Grandmother of the Jungle in Malayalam. Her mission is to preserve the healing traditions of Kaani tribe, settled in the deep forest of Kallar in Thiruvandrum district in Kerala.
The journeys of Mancukkar have spawned various forms of oral histories and local narratives all across northern Malabar. Their travel accounts are a richly rewarding source of geography, ethnography and cultural history.
The history of mancukkar is the history of migrant labourers who were the pioneers of cross-regional labour vital to the functioning of trade, transportation and pilgrimage throughout the Arabian Sea and beyond.
Looking at maritime travels interconnectedness of various communities, their narratives and their collective sense of history and memory, many travel writers have described medieval and early modern Keralam as a world on the move.
There aren’t many places in the world, to which monsoon winds and the smell of spices brought more sea trading ships than to the ports in Kerala. Their glory has faded, but photographer KR Sunil in silent portraits of sea sailors is capturing their stories.
Biju Ibrahim captures the essence of rustic geographies, the people who are now becoming archive of the earth, the mythic and mystery of spaces and places, broken vessels and torn fabric, alleys of now filled with the density of then or before.
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.
Deshappalama: Anju Mozhippadangal. These speech-portraits are first attempts at confronting the single-person nations of Mattancherry and rendering them in poetry. Like myths, Mattancherry is a place that is woven from antiquity and multiplicity.
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