Tracing Narratives is perhaps the culmination of decades of research by Professor Prabhakar Bhagwat, founder, LEAF.
“These trees are magnificent, but even more magnificent is the sublime and moving space between them, as though with their growth it too increased," said the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who found mention in Gaston Bachelard's iconic The Poetics of Space. And in today's troubled times, as development is pitted constantly against the rise and sway of personal, cultural heritage, these tranquil interludes of awareness and introspection become even more important. Tracing Narratives, a travelling show that began as an initiative of Landscape Environment Advancement Foundation (LEAF), Ahmedabad, attempts to do just that during its week here in Bengaluru as part of a country-wide tour.
The exhibition, which is now in its ninth city, explores the history of landscape design in India, from the Nishat Bagh, in Srinagar, build during the reign of Jehangir to curated green spaces like the Vrindavan Gardens. Tracing Narratives - The Indian Landscape is significant because this is the first time the narrative of Indian landscape has been captured in an exhibition and book format. We have books that tend towards taxonomies of horticulture and we have journal articles, but this is different. The documentation is rigorous, thoughtful and poetic." As Nina Chandavarkar, Architect from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, It will, she hopes, build awareness among the public about "landscape, history, heritage and contemporary Indian gardens."