For Sharma, the series Darshan aims to photographically recreate various classical images of Gods and Goddesses pivotal to mythological stories in Hinduism. Printed on a massive scale, photographs will be presented in an elaborate installation closely resembling the experience of a Hindu temple, complete with incense, lamps, and invocations.
Entirely self-funded in 2011, via the crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter, Darshan has already garnered a significant amount of attention from NPR to the New York Times, Huffington Post and LIFE. Sharma has said of the work that "Growing up in India, I saw spiritual paintings and sculptures of deities everywhere...but never a photograph...My mission is to prove that a carefully created photograph can evoke a similar spiritual response."
To make the imagery for the series Sharma did extensive research on each character which led to the assemblage of a team of approximately thirty-five Indian craftsmen who created, as theNew York Times', Niko Koppel explained, "elaborate sets, detailed costumes, Bollywood-level prosthetics and custom props," all tailored to the artist's exacting specifications. The collaborative process and execution of the primarily straight images that have been planned in-camera is the beauty of the images that do not rely on extensive post-production manipulation.
Darshan will be on view September 12th through October 12th 2013 at ClampArt Gallery in New York City. To request a contact sheet or for additional information please contact Jessie Cohen: Jessie@jessieiscohen.com or go to: www.projectdarshan.com.
Manjari Sharma (b. 1979) is a photographer born and raised in Mumbai, India, now based in Brooklyn, New York. She has a BSC in Visual Communication from S.N.D.T. University, Mumbai and a BFA in Still Photography from Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio. Her images have appeared in such publications as Forbes India Magazine, Vogue India, Geo Magazine, online at NPR, New York Times, Huffington Post, PDN and Life Magazine. Sharma received an honorable mention for the prestigious Santa Fe Prize in 2012, and she was invited as a "Shots and Works" artist for LOOK 3: Festival of the Photograph in 2013.