The Antar Anga project was born out of a simple idea — to create a spatial experience that reflected the essence of the kanjivaram. Drawing from this concept, art director and photographer Pranoy Sarkar began to explore ways in which the experience of the kanjivaram could be translated into unique, interactive installations. Through his early experiments, the inherent geometry of the sari in the form of its checks and stripes emerged as the most elemental aspect of the kanjivaram–and this would form the structural foundation for the installations.
In playing with material and form, Pranoy sought to stretch the boundaries of how the kanjivaram can be defined and visualised.
Experimenting with the tension of yarn, the patterns of light and shadow as they reflect off mirrors, the reimagining of linear structures, and the effect of human touch on beams of laser lights, he discovered four diverse ways of portraying different elements of the kanjivaram loom and its signature weave.
All four larger than life and three-dimensional installations become landscapes within which the model protagonists exist; giving rise to a new dynamic as the human form interacts with the space.
In the first sequence, an elaborately visualised and manifested grid of vertical and horizontal panels of yarn set the stage for an expanded interpretive visual of the elements of weave – warp and weft, running vertically and horizontally, creating the foundation of weave.
A series of strung together, reflective rectangles form the striking interactive setting for the second sequence. The installation recalls the age old dobby cards used in weaving, their code determining the embellishment on the weave.
The third sequence is set in an undulating yarn installation framed by an eternity loop in metal. While sari weaving is done on a flat loom construct, the fabric created two dimensionally, the resultant length of yardage is transformed into three dimensions through the wearer’s interaction with it. From this came the concept of an infinity loop of yarn, transformed from its rigorous straight lines into an undulating multi dimensional setting for the sequence.
For the final setting, an ethereal laser grid floats in air, triggered into pulses of contact light bursts when touched. A metaphor for the intrinsic link between the hand and the loom, this installation forms the fourth setting for the Intersect project.
Rather than shooting under soft and beautiful studio lights, Pranoy chose very realistic lighting to illuminate a dark background, against which the lines and edges of the installations would stand out, along with the colours of the kanjivarams. This also adds to the graphic feel of the images and the sense of movement they convey.
Stylist Devanshi Tuli drew inspiration from the ancient ‘madisar’ draping technique to develop a series of drapes that were at once classical and contemporary. With no make-up, accessories or elaborate hairstyles, the look is almost structural, finished only with simple wooden footwear. Since the models are defined as subjects within the landscape of the installations, the idea was to keep the styling pared down and severe–straight lines to give the feel of cylinders or columns rather than flowing or undulating forms.
A striking and graphic collection of Kanakavalli’s range of Kattam Vari checked and striped kanjivarams inform the shoot. The saris feature only geometric patterns—striking and bold in their precision—with no figurative elements. The occasional zari embellishment takes the form of graphic panels that highlight the checks and stripes. The colour combinations have been thoughtfully calibrated to powerfully enhance the interaction between warp and weft. The dramatic geometry of these exquisite silk saris is echoed in the structured lines and edges of the installations.
Discover the complete photo essay on Kanakavalli’s Instagram feed where it launches on 4th April 2022.
Ekavalli would like to thank the entire team that made the project come alive:
Concept, Photography and creative direction: Pranoy Sarkar
Styling and casting: Devanshi Tuli
Hair and Makeup: Bishu Sinha
Models: Jagruti Radhakrishna and Medha Singa
Videography: Piyush More
Production: The AJ Productions
Photography assistant and back stage photography: Mohit Bhatia
Styling assistants: Shivika Paliwal and Ayush Jain