By Preminda Jacob
Towering billboards that includes photorealistic snap shots of renowned cinema stars and political leaders ruled the cityscape of Chennai, within the south Indian kingdom of Tamil Nadu, through the moment half the 20th century. learning the manufacture and reception of those billboards—known in the community as banners and cutouts—within the context of the entwined histories of the cinema and political events in Tamil Nadu, Preminda Jacob finds the wider importance of those fragments of visible tradition past their speedy functionality as lovely items of advertising.Jacob analyzes the juxtaposition of cinematic and political imagery within the extra-cinematic terrain of Chennai's urban streets and the way this placement was once pivotal to the elevation of nearby celebrities to cult prestige. while analyzing those photos and discussing their political and cultural resonance in the Tamil Nadu group, Jacob attracts upon a number of views to provide acceptable context to this interesting kind of visible media.
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Extra resources for Celluloid Deities: The Visual Culture of Cinema and Politics in South India
On occasion, a particular image was repeated on several banners. If so, apprentices placed successive banners into position, tracing one after the other, without repositioning the projector. This process of using a projector to enlarge and copy images appeared virtually the same in all the companies that I visited in Chennai. 6 In the graph method both the film still and the banner surface were divided into squares. Artists then laboriously copied the details of each square in the photograph onto the corresponding square on the banner.
If you use a four-inch brush you can fill that area with a single stroke. But if you use a long-handled brush, as they do in Bombay, you would have to apply about ten strokes to correctly fill the same area. . Work that is done with a lot of “strain” does not compare well with work that is done in a “rough” manner when seen from a distance. ” Acquisition of Skills Every banner artist that I interviewed, with one exception, had acquired his skills by serving as a banner company apprentice. The owner of Swami Arts described his years as an apprentice: After I finished school, my family sent me to Madras to find work with a banner company.
Chennai’s banner companies employed from three job artists in the smallest businesses to fifteen in the largest (owners of Mohan Arts and Sakti Arts both claimed to have employed as many as twenty artists at various times in their careers). Company owners were often practicing artists themselves. And each company maintained from three to eight young male apprentices. Each company contracted a number of additional services. Carpenters, lettering artists—specializing in painting text on banners and cutouts—and construction laborers involved in banner installations on the street and on theater grounds and buildings worked on an intermittent basis, or rotated on contract through several companies.
Celluloid Deities: The Visual Culture of Cinema and Politics in South India by Preminda Jacob