Monday, 21 December 2015


The Music Academy presents ‘Laya’ by eminent photojournalist Raghavendra Rao, an exhibition of photographs of some of the renowned artistes of our time. The exhibition is a two-pronged tribute: to the great practitioners of music and dance, and to the culturally vibrant, resilient city of Chennai, in which the iconic photographer spent a large part of his life.

Born in 1932, Raghavendra Rao was a raconteur who strung his narrative with poignant, telling, often dramatic visuals. All through his career as a photojournalist in Indian Express, India Today, and, finally, The Hindu Business Line, where he guided a team of young photographers, Raoji, as he was known to friends and colleagues, took pictures that reflected the social changes of the time, the cultural ethos, the political climate. No photograph was merely a photograph; it was a story of the times. Rao encouraged curiosity, defied convention, and was a mentor and teacher to many.

‘Laya’ is a collection of Rao’s pictures of the great masters of dance and music who defined and made up the art scene of the city. As he wrote in 2005, every picture to him was a dynamic story, an encounter with an extraordinary person, an experience to cherish. His pictures of D.K. Pattamal, Malavika Sarukkai and Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu, among others, are moving visuals, richly evocative and profoundly expressive. At a time when gadgetry and technology were neither ubiquitous nor inexpensive, Rao captured fragments of life and society using his greatest tools – his eye and his open heart, and his most cherished instrument, light.

One year after he passed away, ‘Laya’ seeks to serve as a tribute to art and as a remembrance of the artist, philosopher and thinker that Raghavendra Rao was. The photographs shall be on display between 23 December  and 9 January at the Music Academy. Sangita Kalanidhi designate Sanjay Subrahmanyam inaugurates the exhibition at 10.30am on 23 December 2015. 

For more details contact: Sreemathi Ramnath 9444440299 or Shreya Ramnath 9884904491

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