Storytellers pay ode to Jhelum through imaginative photos, stories

Srinagar, Jun 16: A five day visual storytelling workshop Jhelum Fables concluded with an ode to the river Jhelum presented by the participants through 50 photographs and as many stories.
Apart from the picturesque elements of the surroundings, what defined their writings and photographs of the participants who attended the workshop on the Roots houseboat situated on the river Jhelum in Srinagar brought out the spirit of the river by bringing out the relation between people and the river. “A chair and table on a houseboat rooftop where pigeons are eating the grains, women praying inside the rooms, walkers promenading the bund, silhouettes of shikaras, the thoughtful portraits of shopkeepers situated alongside the embankment, setting sun, moonrise were articulated by the participants as strong visual grammar in their pondering on the meandering river”, said Dr Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi, the resource person of the workshop and a noted journalist of Kashmiri origin who is presently working in Rajasthan as a journalist with renowned English daily.
The visual stories conceived by each storyteller is an Ode to the river Jhelum, also known as Vyeth in Kashmiri and Vitasta in Sanskrit. “As the soul of the workshop was imaginations, the participants practiced this art through their writings and photography.
The ripples in the muddy waters, windswept verandahs, hide and seek of mellow Sun, flutter of the evening birds, roving shikaras, conversations from the nearby houseboats, knuckles in the wood flooring, footsteps of the walkers on the footbridge, the sound of distant bells of Shankracharya temple and echoes of namaz were the sounds heard and unheard by the budding visual storytellers who later translated them into visuals and stories explaining Jhelum who taught us an art of resilience”, added Tabeenah Anjum who is also the recipient of national award in photography.
The first of its kinds of visual storytelling workshop was organised by Roots Learning group, a student club whose objective is to conduct short courses and workshops on a variety of categories. The Roots group operating in a houseboat is an empowering space for students where an open exchange of ideas and dialogue can take place.
“Besides writing and photography the objective of the workshop was to build the conversations among the participants. The idea of Roots was to establish a space where small workshops with closed group can be held. The youth in Kashmir lack access and opportunities to art and culture in some sense. Our aim was to establish one such space. This is just the beginning, we aim to conduct many such programs”, said Mahi Burza a passionate teacher and founder of Roots. (KNS)