When she picked the title for her exhibition, photographer Dominique Darr, who passed away last December in Auroville, had in mind a testimony of the beginning of the great adventure of Auroville, and within it her own great adventure.
This exhibition is unique as it focuses on everyday life in Auroville during its first years of existence. The photographs have a softness and a light heart to them, it seems that there is nothing to prove, nothing to show. They are a documentationof a happy time and happy people, builders of the new world they believed in.
It took months to choose carefully the 32 photographs from the thousands in Dominique Darr’s photo archives. You will recognise the bare land of Auroville in the ‘70s: the construction of the Matimandir and Last School. There are also faces that you might recognize that will make you smile in nostalgia, or faces that you will discover like the moving and beautiful picture of a village resident who, during the construction of the Matrimandir refused to remove her house which was located under the banyan.
Gigantic contact sheets describe everyday life and show development in architecture, people at work, at leisure and sport, children going to school… this is Auroville at its beginnings.
One of the moving features of the exhibition is the documentation of one of the first births in Auroville, that of Auro Marichi, born the 14th of March 1973. Nothing more moving than a birth, but even more of a birth within a birth, the ultimate symbolism of a new sparkle of cosmic life being brought to earth.
The main jewel of this saga remains the photograph of two men looking at each other warmly in friendship, love, hope and determination, going together towards the ultimate adventure of their life, with the backdrop of the building of the amphitheater of the Matrimandir. All the greatest things in life are in this picture: idealism, the building of great things, friendship, human unity, and the ultimate hope that all is possible.
The exhibition carries in it the dream and the awe of the building of a promised land. It has the feeling of a happy time that only a heart in a process of transferring ideas and ideals into a tangible reality can carry. It is an exhibition about promises, visions, ideals, commitments and the people who carried them With these Auroville could be built, and with these it could concretize.
AND THE ADVENTURE BEGINS will leave you with a feeling of happiness and beauty, a certainty of a wonderful and enjoyable time and maybe a hope tha what has once begun not only might never end but will keep on for eternity.
This article was written by Chana Corinne Devor for Auroville Art Service.
Photo credit: Dominique Darr