FREEDOM NIGHT A journey through art, poetry, and music

ARS Nova: Shared Vision Concerts - Longmont • Denver • Boulder on June 7, 8 and 9, 2024

Freedom Night

Welcome to this realm of my photography, where art embarks on a captivating journey through the intricate tapestry of visual arts and beyond. Join me in June of 2024 as we delve into a world where art intertwines with other forms of creative expression, presenting a seamless fusion that promises an unforgettable experience at ARS Nova's Shared Visions concerts.

The Evolution: ‘Freedom Night’

For quite some time, I've been captivated by a mural reminiscent of Banksy's style near the County Court Building, right beside the Jailhouse in Eagle, Colorado. This intriguing street art, created by an anonymous artist, portrays a man with outstretched arms, seemingly reaching for one of the myriad birds that adorn the naked wall. The intent behind this striking piece has always probed my curiosity, leaving me to wonder about the story it tells on that bare canvas.

Tasked with a class assignment in 2016, to explore the art of ‘light painting,’ I ventured into the night to transform my curiosity while attempting to create my own narrative of this mural. Freedom Night" is a creation that encapsulates a fraction of my photography journey.

A Call to Creativity

With a borrowed birdcage and an imagination contrary to the ordinary, I stepped out on one chilly winter night, and created footsteps of the man walking on snow, with the endeavor to create something unique.

Despite setbacks and challenges, including multiple failed attempts and the frustration of my own shadow in the frame, I somehow persevered.

Using my iPhone flashlight and the slow-shutter camera on a tripod, I focused-painted light onto the wall, bringing the mural to life in the darkness. After over two dozen shots, "Freedom Night" emerged.

What I first saw has evolved into something new: the man setting free the final bird from the cage he had emptied. It's a powerful symbol of freedom and our natural independence. We all carry this within us, even those confined by their own thoughts. Some find freedom through hard work and determination, while others may need a helping hand or a word of encouragement to soar.

Despite the unconventional scene and the humor in notifying the town Police of my venture, "Freedom Night" remains special—a symbol of creative expression and my journey in the creative arts. For me, it’s more than just a photograph; it captures the story of freedom, the essence of artistic improvisation, and limitless potential.

Art, Poetry, and Music Unite

Now, this creation continues to evolve beyond the original and anonymous street artist. I thank my other collaborators; Poet: Jennifer Gurney and Music Composer: Paul Fowler and everyone at ARS Nova for their wonderful alliance.

For June 7th, 8th, and 9th schedule and for tickets please visit ARS Nova Website

Artist Bio:

Raj Manickam work transcends mere visual representation, delving into the realms of observation and storytelling. Through a deliberate act of keen observation, Manickam captures moments that resonate deeply with the essence of their environment. Each photograph is not just a visual artifact but a testament to Manickam’s voice, a narrative waiting to be unraveled.

From scenes of the natural world to captivating human interest stories, the breadth of subjects captured by Manickam is as diverse as the emotions they evoke. These images, often accompanied by poignant essays, serve as windows into the soul of the depicted narratives, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the layers of meaning within.

With a skillful blend of Eastern cultural influences and a Western perspective honed over two decades, Manickam weaves a tapestry of rich visual language that transcends cultural boundaries. Through careful composition and a commitment to honest storytelling, each frame emerges as a testament to the interconnectedness of art, narrative, and human experience.

In the hands of Raj Manickam, photography becomes more than just a medium for capturing moments—it transforms into a vessel for cultural exchange and profound introspection. As light illuminates Raj's subjects, it also illuminates the shared humanity that binds us all together. • Instagram: @allingoodlight

1st Place at Lakewood Arts Council - Feb 2023