A Land of Stories: A photo exhibition at Egmore Museum, Chennai

An amalgam of diverse people, unparalleled heritage and lush landscapes, Tamil Nadu is a land of rich stories.

Over November and December of 2021, we invited students from Chennai and across the state to portray their hometown through their lenses. Mentored on photography using iPhones, these 40 young artists set out to capture photographs with the land as their muse, keeping a keen eye out for vivid colours, abstract shapes, eye-catching shadows, and compelling portraits.

A Land of Stories, a photo exhibition showcasing 120 photographs shot by the students, opened on 26th February at Government Museum, Egmore. Check out more about the exhibition, including photographs shot by students and details about the participating artists here.

While the exhibition stayed open until 17 April, 2022, we welcomed over 500 students from various schools across the city to the showcase. Students and educators alike thoroughly enjoyed these visits, participating in activities such as Find Forage Make, which involved creating artwork, sculptures, or land art using foraged material from the museum campus, photo bingo, guided tours of the exhibition, photowalks, and more. Find details and photographs of the different activities below!

1. Photo Bingo

Through an exciting take on the game Bingo, students got to immerse themselves in the exhibition while searching for a given list of elements within the photographs.

The photo biennale is a creative way of understanding people’s thoughts and displaying them. The activity (Spot the Picture) was interesting. It was enjoyable and engaging for people taking photos and people looking at them. It also expressed the feelings and thoughts of people in a unique, simple manner. I’m hoping for more activities like this.

Manasaraji, a student from ABACUS, on their experience with doing the Photo Bingo

2. Guided Photo Walks

On photowalks through the Museum campus led by mentors from CPB Prism, children got to pick up on the basics of photography, learning to use light, composition, framing, and eye-catching subjects to create photographs.

3. Visit to Connemara Public Library

During our photowalks, students also had the opportunity to visit the Connemara Public Library, which is otherwise closed for public viewing! Apart from being able to access the books in the library, they also enjoyed a tour of the ground floor, being shown a copy of the constitution and listening to the history of the library.

4. Activities from Peer Ponder Play

‘Find Forage Make’, one of the twenty activities from Peer Ponder Play, our art activity book for children, was an instant hit among students of all ages! The activity involved creating land art, sculptures, puppets, tools, accessories, or props using foraged material, such as fallen leaves, twigs and flowers.

Here’s what students had to say about their visits to the exhibition!

The exhibition was very creative (and geometrical!!) Looking at the photos made me realise how vibrant and vivid Chennai is. It was really innovative and made me go ‘How did I not see that before!?!?’

I loved that the photos weren’t exclusive set-ups or anything, but portrayed the common folk and their jobs.

Shakthi, a student from ABACUS

The exhibition was both educational and entertaining. The activities were enjoyable because I had never participated in anything like this before. The activities needed collaboration and patience. We didn’t expect it to be nice and imaginative once we were done. It demonstrated that I have the ability to do things I never believed I could. All of the staff members were quite helpful and walked us through the activity. Overall, I enjoyed the exhibition. Thank you!

Othniel Robin Mathew, a student from Christian Union Public School

Here’s what Ms. Elizabeth Devakirubai, a teacher from Christian Union Public School, had to say about her students’ visit:

The exhibition was quite entertaining. Our students thoroughly enjoyed the day with the Chennai Photo Biennale team, and it was nice to see children work as a team. The tasks and the activities made the children unfold the wings of their imagination and think beyond the horizon.

A big thumbs up for the Biennale team for the cool-headed approach towards the children. Thank you!

We’re extremely grateful to @gi.chennai for collaborating with us on A Land of Stories, and to @photosouthasia for supporting this project every step of the way.

This exhibition wouldn’t have been possible without the continued support of the government of Tamil Nadu, @thearchitecturestory who designed the exhibition, and our education partners: @kchighinternationalschool@nalandawayfoundation, Ajay Memorial Foundation, @shishushakthi, and the Kendriya Vidyalaya schools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *