Shadows of an empire is a collection of photographs that tells the story of Vijayanagar. The ruins of a city in north Karnataka which 16th century Portuguese traveller, Domingo Paes, called “as large as Rome and very beautiful”. Photo-artist Sanjay Dongre captures the traces of this history — the rise and fall of the Vijayanagar empire which intrigues and attracts people from all over the world — through images of cut rock relics rich with impressions of time and what he calls shadows. This collection, apart from being exhibited at galleries, has also formed a 100-page coffee table book with the title, Shadows of an Empire.
The Virupaksha temple in all its glory. Pics courtesy/Sanjay Dongre
About his fascination with Vijayanagar, Dongre shares, “I am a storyteller who also likes to hear good stories; stories that are interesting and have a human touch to it. It makes it even more interesting if they are a part of our heritage.” He adds that stories from Mewar in Rajasthan, of the Mughals, of Hyderabad or about Pune’s Marathas have a human angle, and have defined the course of our history.
This passage is the defining photo of Sanjay Dongre’s collection and makes it to the cover of his book.
“They form a part of our heritage and without them, our national identity is incomplete. History is not to be forgotten, nor to be recreated, and neither to be rewritten,” he asserts.
A glimpse of Virupaksha temple which is popular with pilgrims too
He, however, points out that the awareness on Indian history is limited to northern India, and this has shadowed the Vijayanagar story. The photographs will be exhibited from November 11. Later, Dongre will travel the country to tell his story. “At this point, discussions are on with various galleries in Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore,” he says.
Dongre calls this space stones and monumemts
Till: November 17 (11 am to 7 pm)
At: Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda.
Log on to: jehangirartgallery.com