Authentic, raw and vibrant.
These words sprung to mind when I viewed Prasenjit Das’s photo series, Gopis on the Bank of River. If I had to pick what I enjoyed most about this series, it ought to be the inspiration behind it. In Hindu mythology, Gopis are the cowherd girls known for their unwavering devotion to Lord Krishna. Their love and dedication are often depicted in various scriptures, poetry, and art forms. Prasenjit mentions how ancient Indian paintings depicting Gopis playing on the banks of the River Yamuna were his main sources of inspiration. The Gopis are revered for their selfless love, dedication, and their ability to transcend worldly attachments in pursuit of spiritual union with Krishna. Their stories symbolize the intense longing for divine love and the ultimate union with the divine. Throughout Hindu mythology, Gopis have been spiritual metaphors for the soul's yearning for union with the divine.
What makes this series so unique is how Prasenjit takes the popular mythological figures of the Gopis dating back centuries and reinvents them in the present day and age through the relatively new medium of photography. When one thinks of representation of mythology, we immediately think of literature, painting, or sculpture but never photography and that’s what makes this series so special.
Prasenjit’s quote shows that while mythology has been the primary source of inspiration for his series, it was also born out of personal associations connecting childhood memories of his mother. It’s wonderful to see how mythology is not just in the realm of myth but seeps into our daily lives even in this age of modernity. He recreates it all through a colorful contemporary lens. The high-spirited expressions of the subjects and the lively colors of their sarees brighten up the visual palette particularly as the women are against the backdrop of the pale river water and the somber hues of the steps of the ghat. Each subject’s distinctive identity and agency blossoms not only through their unique attires, expressions, body language, age or disposition but also because of the way they have been visualized by the talented Prasenjit Das.
Find out more about Prasenjit Das here.
If you enjoyed reading this article, here's more from Homegrown: