By the sea: the beauty of the Andamans on fine silk

‘Island Worlds...of land and sea’ exhibits in Delhi, 40 photographs of the islands with 37 of them on silk.

Photos mounted on silk by Pankaj Sekhsaria
Photos mounted on silk by Pankaj Sekhsaria(Photo: Pankaj Sekhsaria)

Researcher-activist Pankaj Sekhsaria has been studying and raising environmental issues about Andamans for the past 20 years. His exhibition, ‘Island Worlds...of land and sea’ on this weekend, exhibits 40 of his photographs with 37 of them on silk. The deep blue of the sea-waters, the pale green mangroves and the varied animal life are all shot beautifully and accentuated by the texture of silk.


Setting out on a turtle survey with the researchers of the Andaman and Nicobar Environment Team (Photo: Pankaj Sekhsaria)


Electric blue on the floor of a mangrove forest, Wandoor, South Andaman Island (Photo: Pankaj Sekhsaria)

His project with the NGO Kalpavriksh and the Bombay Natural History Society made him encounter issues related to timber logging and the violation, in some places, of the tribal reserves in the islands. “Based on those findings we filed a PIL in the Calcutta High Court and that then took a life of its own – going from the Calcutta High Court to the Supreme Court and also became a larger issue because of the intervention of the judiciary,” says Sekhsaria. He has naturally documented his travels and frequent visits to the island.

Sekhsaria’s photographs also show his keen artistic sensibilities. “Silk offered a texture and a lustre that would do justice to the sharpness and striking colours one sees in the islands,” says Sekhsaria explaining his choice.


An elephant and a log, in the timber yard, Hut Bay, Little Andaman Island, 1998 (Photo: Pankaj Sekhsaria)

Photography is not the only one he has reacted creatively to the islands. In The Last Wave, his novel, he wove in his intimate experiences of living in Andaman. “We were sleeping on the beach when suddenly it felt as if someone was trying to pull the plastic sheet away,” says Sekhsaria. “And what a shock it was to get up to and see a Green Sea turtle right next to us. She was out on the beach to lay her eggs and we had laid our sheets in her path. We got up quickly, pulled the sheet from under her, moved to another part of the beach so that we could sleep and she could lay her eggs!”

What: Island Worlds…of Land and Sea

When: Till August 2

Where: Art Gallery, Kamaladevi Complex, IIC, Lodhi Road,11am- 7pm

Nearest metro station: Khan Market
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