Handmade fragments from a another time.
These beautiful unfinished sandstone sculptures in Angkor wat , Cambodia have stood the test of time in many ways against man and nature. The threat to thier survival from now comes from well intentioned humans who visit to see them, not from nature anymore . With millions coming to visit this place every year the launchpad city of Siam reap nearby is under major threat of water depletion from tourism.My series here is to focus on the incredible journey of how these were made and my motive of preserving them for posterity through another artistic medium .
Built from the 9 th century onwards , later abandoned, these temples were lost to the thick jungle canopy . Because of this they escaped destruction from the horrible Wars and restored by a group of French , Indian and Japanese archeologists. The spread of Hinduism from the south of India triggered the synthesis a new Indo-asian culture resulting in a magnificent architectural style unparalleled anywhere. Incidentally southern India is where I was born and take pride Indian art and science heavily influenced the Hindu king who built the largest religious mounument in the world.
The temple being a magnificent overpowering monument everyone focuses on the external structures and are in awe of its mysterious ambience . While roaming the temple complex I noticed these beautiful unfinished sculptures which will never see the full form they were intended to take. I shot these pictures, ironically with a lens made by a master Japanese craftsman whose handmade work reminded me of the similarity between the artists who seek to create objects of great beauty and excellence with thier hands for us too see and feel.The light in the doorways and the intricacy of the sculptures intrigued me to capture them like portraits fulfilling my need to find a way to pay the right homage to the artists , their craft and the sculpture made by the wonders of the human hand.In my quest tp pay homage I came across an art form the lost art of collotype printing. I took classes so had the opportunity to print a few of these pictures myself under the super vision of arguably one the only grand Masters of collotype printing. As I learned to print these I understood the arduous process , dedication it takes to create a great hand crafted object and only pondered in awe at the miracle of how this art travelled all the way from India into ancient Cambodia into the hands of master Khmer sculptors to be chiseled into these beauties.
My project now is to have a grandmaster hand print my photographs and bring to life these wonders in a boxed form with artifacts equally eclectic and appreciative of the greatness of the human hand irrespective of where the hand is from. Evolution to me is showing progress from what we are handed not destruction and construction again.