Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Theyyams of Malabar: Brief Update

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

The Theyyam Photo Expedition ended last night, and I'm about to leave Delhi in a few hours. As I usually do, I will post a detailed "post-mortem" on the whole expedition as soon as I get a chance to review my notes.

The 4-5 days we spent at the various Theyyam ceremonies and performances in the Kasaragode area of Kerala were nothing short of an orgy of non-stop photography, and the access we enjoyed was unprecedented. In the meantime, here's a teaser of a Theyyam performer...I intentionally chose a blurred image to convey the sense of sporadic motion which characterize these rituals.

Theyyam is a 2000 year old performance-ritual exhibited only in the northern Malabar region of Kerala. The word is a corruption of "daivam" or god in local dialect. The unusual head dresses, intricate and elaborate make-up, costumes and body painting are nothing short of extraordinary.

More to come in the days and weeks to come.