Early in 2005 my dear friend and creative partner at the time, Spiros Antonopoulos and I were trying to come up with our next project as well as a way to fund a trip to Mysore to attend the celebration for Pattabhi Jois’ 90th birthday. After some brainstorming and soul searching we decided to do “Gently Down”.
Inspired by a story we heard that Lee "Scratch" Perry used to bury his tapes in his back yard for some years to get extra tonal diversity and do rituals to empower them, we came up with this idea. We would screen print an image of the Goddess Ganga on a series of T-shirts and take them on a spiritual pilgrimage through India where they would be bathed in the Ganges at Haridwar, washed and beaten on the stones of the river’s bank at Uttarkashi and blessed in the temple at Gangotri in the Himalayan mountains.
The concept was that even if you could not make it to India, you could follow your shirts journey as we travel blogged it’s progress. We also wanted to take a mundane item like a t-shirt and see it go through a process of transformation, purification and blessing by the water element. It’s hard to imagine now that internet live blogging was in it’s infancy in 2005, but it was. And we failed to anticipate the obstacles we were about to encounter, like115 degree heat, monsoon rains, me losing the cable for the camera, lack of internet access north of RIshikesh and the fight we had hiking through the Himalayas that resulting in us not speaking to each other for 3 days…..And Spiros got hypothermia after bathing in the Ganges at Gaumukh, the geological source of the river that is located at a glacier.
I will spare the reader the many ups and downs we experienced on our mission and jump to the conclusion. The shirts and us made it up and back from Haridwar to the Himalayas and finally down to Mysore in time for the festivities. All 108 shirts were sold which allowed me to pay my credit card bills that we used to front the trip. We even got to stay and practice at the yoga school in Mysore for a couple of months. And most importantly, I think I can say with confidence that we had 108 very satisfied shirt recipients.
Bathed at Haridwar
Beaten at Uttarkashi
Blessed at Gangotri
Each shirt was packaged in a custom made canvas carry bag and came with a bottle of Ganga water collect at Gaumukh.
You can see more photo of the trip HERE