Breaking Boundaries: Manjari Sharma’s Darshan

I realize we’ve had a bit of a hiatus lately over here on TPP, but I’m pulled out of retirement by some really staggering work by Manjari Sharma. In this age of instagram, it’s rare to see something truly new and groundbreaking, especially as it pertains to the photographic medium itself.

Enter Manjari Sharma’s Darshan. Named for a Sanskrit word which means “sight”, “vision” or “view, Manjari’s new project seeks to photographically recreate nine classical images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. These icons are deeply connected to Sharma’s spiritual upbringing. By melding them with her reverence and devotion to photography, she is creating altars of her own.

You’ll never believe what goes into making these images. It’s a full-on production of costume designers, set stylists, jewelry designers, carpenters and painters. Sharma believes art is much about the process, and this is one hell of a process.

This is the first image, Maa Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, good fortune, and prosperity.

Here is more about the project, and an amazing behind-the-scenes look at the work as it is created:

Darshan from Manjari Sharma on Vimeo.

PLEASE consider donating to Sharma’s project. These images ought to be created. Click here and help out! You can even receive a signed, editioned print. Totally worth it, this is an excellent use of Kickstarter.

Here is more from Sharma in her own words:

“I grew up in a Hindu home to parents who were quite spiritual, religious and god fearing as they would call it in India. I visited countless temples, shrines, and discourses as frequently as my parents wanted. These discourses circled around unraveling the mysteries locked in chapters of mythological enigma and tales of deities, reincarnations and astrology. The roots of hindu mythology run deep; my own experiences as a child ranged from being fascinated and enlightened to lost and still seeking. Naturally, coming back home still consists of delving back into the same routine of worship and meditation I left behind.

I moved from India to the United States in 2001 in order to pursue an undergraduate study in Fine Art Photography. The frequency with which I visited Hindu temples in what felt like my previous life, gradually got replaced with visits to art galleries, museums and studios, where creativity in all mediums of expression are revered.

This series bridges two parts of my world. Iconography in the Indian religion found in temples and scriptures are ultimately artistic representations of mythological characters. Most hindus have seen the use of painting and sculpture but rarely photography taken to the level of exacting measures with respect to showcasing deities. The creation of these images has become my act of devotion, to art and to religion.”

Go to Manjari Sharma’s site.

Go to Kickstarter and be inspired.

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