‘Dandi Yatra’, a photo exhibition by Chaitanya Guttikar was held at Gyaan Adab Centre from 29th May to 4th June. The exhibition showcased photographs taken by Chaitanya when he traced the historical ‘Dandi March’ of 1930. The fact that they were printed on khadi added to the charm of the images.
“The idea for this project came about while having tea in a tapri in Goa,” he said with a nostalgic smile. “The four of us decided to walk the same route as Gandhi had during the Dandi march and stop at the same villages and see for ourselves what the environment, the road and the people look like in this region. Each of us had a different initial motivation. My plan was to understand Gandhi’s strategy to apply it to the alternative photography movement and change it from a minority effort to a widespread practice.” The journey lasted 25 whole days.
Now a director of the Goa Center for Alternative Photography (Goa-CAP), Chaitanya had been pursuing his doctorate in the United States when he came across the alternative processes that a photograph can be developed in. Before the inauguration, Chaitanya showcased a few photographs that were not a part of the exhibition and explained to the audience the importance of photography in his life. He was in conversation with celebrated artist Sujata Dharap where he made an enlightening point- one that set the audience thinking. “In America, cameras are mainly used for surveillance. Where at times, there is even a negative aspect attached to them. But here within our roots, although each photo in itself is a story, it can be the story of more than one person. Majority of people from the rural areas still find the act of being photographed, even by a complete stranger, a reason for celebration, a reason to feel dignified and important,” he commented.
Renowned photographer Sandesh Bhandare cut the ribbon and inaugurated the exhibition. He led the audience inside. The photographs managed to capture the essence of Gandhi’s Dandi march in a spectacular light. Soon enough, one could see people walking around freely, awash in the light on the exhibits; some interacting with Chaitanya, some merely transfixed by the stills put for viewing.