"Palanisamy's father, once an esteemed literary critic and author, recently suffered a stroke that exacerbated existing health issues. Perhaps his literary roots took hold within Palanisamy himself, as his body of work appa and other animals featuring his father reads as a dystopian narrative based in a parallel universe. Handwritten notes, drawings, and collages collide to create an unsettling yet arrestingly sharp chronicle that is at once deeply personal and widely universal."

Katherine Harris Pomerantz, Director of Photography at TIME magazine, JRNL 4 Guest Editor

In ‘appa and other animals’, Madhavan Palanisamy (b. 1975, India) introduces his dad as the main source of inspiration. Last year, his father suffered from a partial stroke that, unfortunately, made him immobile. “Even after my father lost his eyesight, he continued seeing and inspiring others with his humanity,” says Madhavan to motivate why he sketched a pair of eyes on a close-up portrait of his dad, resulting in turning him into a mythical god-like figure.

His black and white images shot on an expired film are highlighted with bright flash and grain in addition to personal drawings and writings that add a unique diaristic quality to the series.
This subjective approach helps Palanisamy to give insight into his daily routines and to highlight the old neighborhood in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu – the area where for two months he was caring for his dad. It was a difficult time and to shake off the stress, the artist would often go for evening walks, listen to music and pass around dogs, mules, and horses while always carrying a Contax G2 camera with an attached flash.

‘appa and other animals’ mirrors the intimacy, absurdity, and vulnerability interplaying in Palanisamy’s daily life. Hovering between day and night, the project allows for a unique aesthetic encounter, further emphasizing our inability to escape the inevitable cycle of aging - Linda Zhengová GUP Magazine


My dad has been a longtime inspiration for my work. He has been unwell and fighting with old age, refusing to go gentle into that good night. In the neighborhood, horses and mules parade casually, surviving on grass and garbage. Stray dogs wander. Night passes by.

Analog images, text, drawings, digital collage. 

Series Winner: 1st Place:  Lensculture Black and White Awards 2019

Lenculture Feature: https://www.lensculture.com/articles/madhavan-palanisamy-appa-and-other-animals

© madhavan palanisamy 2020