If you’re following me on Instagram (@sunayansen) you would have seen pictures from a project I’ve been working on called Project Visualize. I haven’t posted much about the project so I thought I’d tell you more about it here.
There are two things that I absolutely love- Kathak and Mughal History. I have so many books on Mughal history, it’s scary. Nobody else in my house shares this interest so I sometimes get a scolding on hoarding these novels. Not only books, but also TV shows and movies based on/in this era. A couple of months ago my friend asked me why I love Mughal history and why I am so addicted to these books, and I had no answer. I don’t know what it is about this piece of history that mesmerises me. Not only Mughal, but also related (preceding, contemporary, and succeeding) dynasties like Qutub Shahis and Nizams. While I still don’t have an answer to why I love this era, I do have an answer to her second question.
I’m a visual person. This means that I consume information visually. My memories are visuals and I process information through images. So when I read these history novels, I visualize the whole thing in my mind. I visualize the garments the characters are wearing, the garden they’re seated in, the wine container placed on the table, and everything to last detail. It’s literally like a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie playing in my head. Once I start reading a history novel, I am lost for hours together. Sometimes I take a break from reading and stare into space just imagining what life would have been in that setting. It’s almost as if I’m transported to that era and I don’t want to leave. This happens not only when I’m reading a novel, but also when I’m exploring a historical site such as Golconda Fort. I kid you not when I say that I can spend a whole day walking through Chowmahalla Palace for the third time! Which is why I prefer going to historical sites alone or with just two other people who share my interests. Otherwise I’ll be rushed and I can’t enjoy being lost in my historical fantasies.
Kathak has always had a special place in my heart. Ever since I was a child and knew that there were different forms of dance, I have enjoyed watching Kathak. The grace, the costumes, the poetry… all these made me fall hopelessly in love with Kathak. And this love grew stronger as I watched movies such as Umrao Jaan where Kathak was the chosen dance form of the protagonist. And because of these movies, I always connected Kathak with the Mughal era. But I was so occupied with other things that I never gave Kathak a fair chance. It wasn’t until I started working that I began my Kathak training. Two hours a day, two days a week – this was time I got to rendezvous with Kathak. I loved Kathak even more when I learnt that my body type was perfect for this dance form. I don’t know what it is about Kathak that consumes my soul but whatever the reason, it has given me a route to escape into a fantasy.
So when my friend asked me why I am so addicted to these books, I got the idea of putting my two love interests together to try to show her what goes on in my head when I read these books. I have some pictures that I had taken on my photowalk to Qutub Shahi Tombs, and I have a couple of paintings of Kathak postures. Plus, I have some knowledge of Photoshop. So I put all this together and came up with a project. For lack of creativity, I named it ‘Project Visualize‘.
I took the dancer part of the painting and superimposed it on a picture to create a scene from the bygone era. The first one I did on a whim, without any clear thought. I was actually just testing out the magnetic lasso feature in Photoshop. Anyway, the first one turned out pretty well and I got positive response on it from my close pals. Then I posted it on Instagram and it’s one of the most engaging posts I have. Since I got such good response on it, I made another one.
Project Visualize- recreating an era. 'Jagat' Part painting, part photo is my latest affair with something new. Trying to depict my day dreams through art and photos. #artistsoninstagram #art #photooftheday #photowalk #qutubshahdynasty #qutubshahitombs #hyderabad #mughal #nizams #telangana_travel #architecture #ruins #historyofhyd #historynerd #history #photoshop #vision #daydreaming #visualization
Project Visualize- recreating an era. 'Jahanara' Part painting, part photo is my latest affair with something new. Trying to depict my day dreams through art and photos. #artistsoninstagram #art #photooftheday #photowalk #qutubshahdynasty #qutubshahitombs #hyderabad #mughal #nizams #telangana_travel #architecture #ruins #historyofhyd #historynerd #history #photoshop #vision #daydreaming #visualization
So that’s the story behind Project Visualize. I’ve enjoyed the whole process and quite like the outcome so I want to keep it going. Also because I think I really hit the jackpot here. I have so many visions in my mind that I want to bring to the screen. However, this means I need to have enough photos and paintings. Photos aren’t a problem but paintings are. I’m not a very good painter, and worse still, I’m not very patient. I’m trying to figure out how to keep this going but at least the intent is strong. I’m thinking of creating one piece per month and that should give me enough time to paint a new piece. I have gotten some feedback on it but I’d love more. Leave your thoughts as comments on this blog post, or the Instagram posts, or the Flicker post.
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