Every year during the colourful festival of Holi, the stage is set at Anandpur Sahib in the Punjab for a spectacular theatre of life - the Holla Mohalla. During the three day festivities, the little township comes alive with religious fervour. The air resounds with divine music from the Historic Gurudwaras. The senses are assailed with echoes of Shabad kirtans through day and night or music from wayside stalls, the perfume of flowers and freshly cooked food. The pure taste of Kara-prashad from langars so devotedly prepared by volunteer pilgrims and, above all, the visual spectacle of vibrant blues & saffrons worn by the Nihangs, the shining weaponry and martial feats played out in the village squares or the big maidan, breath stopping and daring horsemanship. The impressive parades and sporting competitions on the final day are the grand finale to one of the most exciting and unspoiled of Indian festivals.
Cop Shiva (Shivaraju B.S.), is a documentary photographer. He started his photography career by being a part of an alternative art collective called 1.SHANHTIROAD STUDIO/GALLERY. As a coordinator of this space, he met many local photographers and artists, from India and abroad, which enriched his art practice.
Cop Shiva started to document the complexity of rural and urban India. He focuses on people and portraiture as a genre. He is fascinated with the idea of masquerade and the roles people play in public and private. One of the most acclaimed projects involved documenting the life of a rural school teacher, named Bagadehalli Basavaraj, as a Gandhi impersonator. This project has evolved to include a broader reached, that is to look at Gandhi’s ideals in contemporary India.
Moreover, Cop Shiva’s portfolio includes a series of intimate portraits of urban migrants, people of alternative sexuality, street performers and others living in the hinterland of urban and rural conflict. Shiva continues to capture the diversity of humans who live on the edge and represent the spirit of our times.
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