The Saint in the Marketplace
United States, 1945-2006
The Saint in the Marketplace
Panoramic Photo Collage with Fuji Crystal archive prints, 2002
Collection Museum of Photographic Arts
Gift of Masumi Hayashi
© Museum of Photographic Arts
Masumi Hayashi was an artist, photographer, and professor
best-known for her panoramic photo collages that, in her own words, explore “the
incongruity between appearance and reality in the American experience.” She did
this by creating collages of abandoned prisons, post-industrial landscapes,
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund Sites, and the remains of
Japanese American internment camps. With her collages, Hayashi attempted to
present the surface and reality of the places that she photographed without
offering an overt or critical commentary on the subject.
To create her panoramic photo collages, Hayashi begins at the horizon line, shooting approximately two-dozen photographs in a horizontal circular rotation until she ends up where she began. Next, she angles upwards, then downwards, continuing until she has captured the landscape around her. She then develops the photographs and assembles the collages. The resulting photo collages range from a 100-degree to 540-degree rotation, and can include as many as 140 individual photographs or as few as five photographs.
The Saint in the Marketplace, photographed in 2002, is part of Masumi Hayashi’s project on “Asian temples and sites of ancestral worship.” The project began in 1999 with her first photographic journey to India, funded by a fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council. She returned to India on three other occasions to finish the project, the last of which was funded through a 2003 Fulbright research fellowship. The Meenakshi Temple is located in Madurai, India, a southern town known for its great temples situated on the banks of the river Vaigai. Madurai is also known as “the city of nectar.” It is one of the largest and most ancient sites in India, dating back more than 2,500 years. The temple is one of the most important cultural and commercial centers of India; one of its many hallways hosts an area of shops and stores. Inside the temple are more than 1,500 sculptures as well as a hall of 1,000 sculpted pillars; tapping on each pillar will produce the sound of a different musical note. The enormous Meenakshi temple complex is dedicated to Meenakshi, a princess born with fish-shaped eyes and her husband Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, who is also involved with the new creations that come from destruction. According to the legend, the temple was the site of the wedding of Meenakshi and Shiva. The temple remains an Indian and international tourist attraction, as well as an important site of Hindu pilgrimage.
(For Grades K-2)
How many different colors do you see in the marketplace? Can you name them all?
What shapes do you see in the marketplace? (Remember to look at the ceiling, the floor, and the vendors’ carts.)
Do you like how the artist created one big picture out of many smaller pictures? Why or why not?
What do you imagine the vendors in the photograph are selling?
Look at the actions taking place in the market. What do you think are the sounds and smells that you would experience as a visitor to the market?
(For Grades 3-5)
How many individual photographs do you think the artist used to make this collage? (Use your estimation skills.)
Find the cow in the center of the image and the people surrounding it. What do you think these people are doing? Notice how no one around the cow is actually paying attention to it; instead where are these people focused?
Observe how no one in this image is wearing any shoes. What reason(s) do you think this could be for?
Try to find the succession of movement of at least one person in this image. Considering this, how much time do you think Masumi Hayashi spent at this site?
If you were to go to this temple, what about it would interest you the most?
(For Grades 6-8)
Knowing that this temple is a famous site of ancient worship, as well as modern commerce, what do you think happens here on a daily basis?
Does it seem like this photo-collage was made at one or multiple times throughout the day? How can you tell?
What kind of discussion is being held in the center of the image? What do you think the purpose of the cow is for?
This temple is dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva. In what ways does this temple convey the complexity of Shiva?
Knowing that Madurai is referred to as “the city of nectar,” how does this temple contribute to that declaration?
This list of resources is available for use at the Dubois Library at the Museum of Photographic Arts. The Library is open by appointment to MOPA Members, educators and researchers, and its collections are available for on-site use only. Contact the Library at 619-238-7559x216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hayashi, Masumi. Archival Materials. Vertical Files. Museum of Photographic Arts, Edmund L. and Nancy K. Dubois Library, San Diego, CA.
Tōkyō-to Shashin Bijutsukan. 1996. Gender, beyond memory: the works of contemporary women artists. Tokyo: Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture.