Saturday, May 11, 2019

World Collage Day

Today, the second Saturday in May is ‘World Collage Day’.  
You can read more about its genesis here.  

In celebration of today, I would like to revisit my piece ‘Buddha of the Peace Lily'.   You can visit the original post of this artwork from the link  here.

The Peace Lily by its very name and the Buddha by nature personify Peace.
Nested within the Peace Lilies is the Buddha conveying a subliminal message of Peace. 

Let us for a minute stop whatever we are doing. 

Let’s stop the cacophony of noises, the meaningless screeching debates, pontificating and posturing, the mindless violence and ruthless killing of humans, animals, birds, plants, trees and forests. 

Let’s stop the destruction of our environment.

Just let's take slow deep breaths and let peace be.  

Like the Buddha, sit in contemplation.  
Find the truth within you.  Enjoy the beauty in nature.  
Let peace pervade your senses.  
Be at peace.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Mumbai Art Fair 2018

So I participated in my first exhibition ever !!!  

My debut into the artworld at The Mumbai Art Fair of 2018 !!!   

A big event by all means in India's Art calendar.  This year there were over 250 artists from all over the country and neighbouring Nepal and they showed over 1500 artworks.   The art festival  ran from 12th to 14th October - 2018 at the Nehru Centre in Worli, Mumbai.     

My e-invite
Preparations took time and effort and I had planned not to leave anything until the end.  The preparation time was hectic and the anticipation feverish but it was totally worth it.   I had  been allotted 2 panels in booth 106 to put up my collage art.  

Mumbai Art Fair team took care of all the organizing in a brilliant way.   They had sent me the e-invite earlier on. 
The local paper I sent the invitation to did a small feature in their Weekly.  

(Planet Powai, Edition of  13-14 Oct, 2018).   
(2nd from right, in ''The Afternoon Despatch & Courier'' 13th Oct, 2018)

Morning of 12th Oct, 
before the opening

My best friend helped me put up the artworks. (The large ones are pretty heavy after framing).    

This photo shows the view of my panels before the opening of the art fair.   

Over 26000 people visited as per the registration desk.   

Paper collage is not exactly common in India, artists usually use acrylics or oil paints. Art lovers who visited the exhibition were intrigued at the idea of using paper instead of paint to create artworks.

It was a pleasure interacting with other upcoming, mid-career artists and also renowned and established artists. Some good friendships made and I  had fun networking.  It was a truly enjoyable experience for me at my first art show.  

       My heartfelt thanks to friends who were instrumental in encouraging me and      enabled me to do this.    

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Hanuman and Rama Setu

Title :  Hanuman and Rama Setu
Size  :  19.5"x 29.5"

This paper collage is of Hanuman building the bridge to Lanka and is a commissioned piece.

Hanuman (the monkey God) is revered in Hinduism for his selfless dedication to God (Lord Rama). He is the symbol of energy and strength and also of great knowledge. He makes a late entry in the epic poem ‘’Ramayana’’ (the story of Rama).

Rama the prince of Ayodhya is assisted in the rescue of his kidnapped wife Sita by Hanuman.  Sita is held captive in the island of Lanka and Hanuman and the monkey army build a bridge to attack the kingdom of Lanka, defeat the demon king Ravana and rescue Sita. 

This artwork is about the building of Rama setu (Rama’s bridge) and Hanuman overseeing the construction.  He has the image of a forlorn Sita sitting in the grove on his mind. The monkeys are building the bridge. There is also a little squirrel that tries to help by carrying pebbles.

This is a short explanation of the story behind this composition.  In case, dear reader, you are interested in a less brief version, you can read the story here.  

Whether the Legend of Rama is a mythological story imagined by the author or a retelling of events that had already taken place as is mentioned in the Ramayana itself is hotly debated to this day. Fact is Lord Rama is venerated as an avatar of Lord Vishnu in the Indian sub-continent and as far away as Indonesia, Burma, Cambodia and Nepal.   And there are many legal cases pending in the Supreme Court of India on Property Title issues where parties seek to prove the historical accuracy of their claims. 

Today Rama Setu is called Adam’s bridge. 

Rameshwaram is a town on the Indian side named after Rama and here is a temple where the idol of Shiv Linga is said to have been installed by Rama before his foray into SriLanka.  The temple still exists.  The temple records say the bridge was walkable until 1480 A.D. after which the bridge broke up in a cyclone. Today it cannot be used for crossing from India to Sri Lanka as it is underwater and it also proves to be a hindrance to navigation as the water is too shallow and ships have to go around Sri Lanka due to this reef. 

This is a NASA photo showing photographic proof of such an overland connection at some point in time. However NASA have said it could not be determined if it was man-made or is a series of naturally occurring sand banks 30 kms long. 

Geological Survey of India’s report has concluded that this bridge was used as a means to travel between India and Sri Lanka about some 7,000-10,000 years ago.

Carbon dating has been done and it places this in the time-frame of when the Ramayana was supposed to have happened. 

So the debate continues...

Sunday, June 24, 2018

In the style of Gustav Klimt

My ''Lady in Gold'' 

The mother of a dear friend passed away last year.    I was asked to do a portrait of her.  The only reference photo I had to work with was a photo sent on my mobile phone of a 2x2 inch B&W photo taken perhaps 50 years ago.  


Title : In the style of Klimt, Lady in gold
Size :  12"x16"

With this portrait I pay homage to the master Gustav Klimt.   

This project helped me to learn a lot about portraiture as it presented a few challenges; in addition to capturing the likeness ofcourse.  I was working off a photo with only head and shoulders and the values dimmed with age.  Importantly it had to be made into a portrait that would look better than just an enlarged photo.  Added to this was my personal preference for paper collage over other mediums. 

Paper collage in itself would not allow for a very good likeness so it had to be a mixed media.  I have used acrylics for the body and everything else is paper collage on canvas board.  Yes I also added in some Klimt motifs in gold paint into the collaged paper as I had decided to make it in the style of my favourite artist’s golden period.    

Interestingly, the original ‘Woman in Gold’ aka ''Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I'' (54"x 54") is not at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna where most of Klimt’s paintings are. 

It is at the Neue Galerie in New York.  There is very interesting real life story behind this that has been made into a movie.  

You can watch the trailer of the movie here or the real story in documentary format here and as a presentation by Randol Schoenberg here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Coppersmiths in Cannonball Tree

This collage combines a favourite tree of mine the cannon ball tree with the beautiful copper-smith barbet that is perfectly camouflaged among the flowers! 

Title : Coppersmiths in Cannonball Tree
Size :  11"x 17" 

Allow me to introduce the copper-smith barbet.  This delightful little bird flits from branch to branch and is always a challenge to spot as it moves so fast! Green and yellow with crimson red on throat and head, black lines on its back and near its eyes, it flits about quickly  calling out to its mates.  And it has the most impossible sounding birdsong. Those unfamiliar may not even realise that it is this tiny bird calling.  It does not move its beak. The sound emanates from its tiny throat and it is loud and metallic. Rhythmic too.  It is the sound of a hammer hitting metal, hence the name – copper-smith.  And when it calls in quick succession and two or more join in, it can get noisy!!  But it is such a happy noise.

Here is the most exotic tree of all. It does not have leaves and flowers on the same branches.   The leaves grow on the big branches like other normal trees.  The flowers grow on branches that only come out of the central trunk and the fruits are found on these as well.

Its called the ‘’Naga linga Pushpam’ in Tamil (Naga being cobra, Linga being God Shiva and pushpam being flower).  In South India and Sri Lanka, the flowers have a religious significance due to their centre being shaped like a serpent hood over a shiva-linga and so are usually found in temple courtyards.  

This flower has the most heavenly scent richer than any other tropical flower in my opinion. These large blooms are such a pretty peach and pink colour with the beautiful white and yellow centres.  So heady is the fragrance of these flowers that your nose could probably lead you to the tree in any garden even with your eyes closed.  The fruits can get as large as small melons and are round and woody on the outside.  It’s due to this shape it came to be given the name ‘cannon ball’ in English. 

I so love this tree that when I find one it’s very hard for me to walk away.  Inevitably, I return with a whole lot of flowers that drop down from the tree and preserve them for the longest possible time to enjoy their fragrance.