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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vision To Visuals

Work of an Indian artist revealed

This Article Features Photo Zoom

In the final design, the entire museum became the village landscape, and Sonabai’s house and courtyard were re-created fully at scale to allow the audience to literally walk through Sonabai’s world as Huyler had done several years ago. The exhibition led the audience from the village entrance into her courtyard, into her room and into the dancers’ quarters where Huyler’s film and music completed the experience of Sonabai’s life.

The exhibition layout was first fully designed in 3D software with detailed wire frames of virtual areas in the museum with photographs, artwork, film and music, which helped Huyler, the museum and the Duggal team approve final scale and design before production began.

The courtyard, which led the audience into Sonabai’s house, was defined by photographs mounted on illuminated LED panels that created a brilliant 30-foot-wide-by-10-foot-high wall. These panels were unique as they were illuminated from both sides so we could replicate the courtyard both on the outside and inside for the audience to walk around. Sonabai’s house, created to scale, was defined by Huyler’s photographs, enlarged to a size of 10x20 feet, creating a dramatic insight into the inner sanctum of Sonabai’s world in which she spent several years in isolation. In the dancers’ quarters, sheer murals were mounted from ceiling to floor to project Huyler’s film, which depicted Sonabai’s village life with sounds of drums, chanting and singing, bringing the audience as literally close to her intimate world as possible.

Because of how special this exhibition was for both Huyler and me, I asked him to write a personal note about what it was like working on this exhibition. This is what he had to say: “I have been designing ‘Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing’ for the past five years, making sure that I got it just right. Most exhibitions are put together in a far shorter period of time, but I was determined that I needed to make an original and unique visual statement, one that would knock the socks off the visiting public and critics. That is why I came to Duggal. I explained my ideas to Mr. Duggal back in 2004. He put me in touch with Jose Vargas then, and we have been throwing ideas back and forth ever since, working intensely to try and get the experience of the show just right. In Duggal I had access to the very latest techniques and concepts for displaying images and could carefully weed through all the many possibilities available. ‘Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing’ is the perfect manifestation for me of years of dreams, visions and hard work.”

It’s projects like these that make me feel immensely proud of my company. Realizing an artist’s long-sought dream, in this case both of Huyler’s and of Sonabai’s, is a rare privilege and one that I hope I continue to have in years to come. I hope that audiences take from Sonabai’s story a powerful message of hope and persistence, and the conviction that it’s possible to create intense beauty even in the face of extreme adversity.

Baldev Duggal, president and founder of Duggal, has been innovating visual solutions for image-makers for more than 40 years. Credited with building and designing the industry’s first dip-and-dunk processing machine, Duggal has maintained his status as a leader in the imaging business and is heralded for outstanding service by consumer and trade magazines alike. With digital capabilities reaching worldwide, his headquarters covers a block on West 23rd Street in New York City.


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