29 April 2010
According to Hindu mythology, Mahishasura was a demon who was granted the power of invincibility by God Brahma but then became so powerful that he had to be killed by the Goddess Durga.
The Mahishasura, done in 1996 is considered to be his most famous work done in karmic origami & depicts Goddess Durga slaying the demon Mahishasura. In this painting, the artist depicts Mahishasura as a sympathetic figure embracing the Goddess, thus showing the Goddess' mercy & the demon's transformation once he's united with the divine.
The painting when done, did generate its share of controversy but given the artists penchant for mythological themes, it was widely accepted & appreciated. It was evantually sold at a Christie's auction in New York, 2005 for a price of $1.5 million, the first time that a contemporary Indian artwork had fetched that kind of amount! Though this fact alone might divert from its brilliance, the artist has managed to portray the work as a brilliant metaphor showing the spiritual transformation that takes place as a result of union between a mortal & the divine!!
24 April 2010
The most notable of these, is 'The Bengal Art movement' where the local art form of Bengal used since time immemorial in pottery & other sculptures of the region was adapted & used in paintings & other media. It was given a lot of importance & emphasis by Rabindranath Tagore, the noted poet & path breaking artist who created an art school at 'Shantiniketan' to encourage young artists, a fact not known to many people including me till a while ago!!!
In the early 20th century, artists were mostly following the western method of painting fully supported by the British who were the rulers at the time. But gradually, with the commencement of the nationalist movement, Indian sentiments & spiritual ideas, began to take precedence as a way to react against the prevailing academic styles. Incidentally, it was a British art teacher, Ernest Binfield Havel who encouraged Indian students at Kolkata's school of art to depict Mughal miniatures in their own way which led to a major controversy terming it a retrogressive move. But this did not deter Havel, who together with Abanindranath Tagore, nephew of Rabindranath Tagore painted numerous works inspired by Mughal art & so was born this movement bringing forth art, descriptive of India's spiritual essence, as opposed to the West's depiction of materialism.
With time, there was a decline of this school's influence on art with the spread of mordernistic & newer concepts. However, the Bengal school's legacy still continues to leave its impact on art as a whole to this day, seen in the works of a large number of mordern Indian artist's like Jamini Roy, Nandalal Bose, Sunayani Devi amongst others!!!!
15 April 2010
The art movement comprised of Parisian artists whose works were characterised by visible brush strokes, strong emphasis of light in different settings showing the passage of time & ordinary everyday subject matter depicted in unusual visual angles. Movement as a crucial element of human perception & experience was given much importance & basically it was the artists perspective, thus a very subjective point of view. It was also an attempt by the artists to focus more on colours rather than lines & bring art out of the studio thus creating works that were more visual rather than the focus on tiny details.
Although it may now be difficult to find pure impressionist paintings, its versatility can still be felt & seen in the work of most artists of our times!!!
14 April 2010
Called as 'reverse graffiti', the project uses guerrilla tactics of street-art on public walls, thus reversing the effects of pollution & actually turning the definition of graffiti on its head to produce wall art that is both unique & beautiful. It is a type of street art that instead of defacing public property, actually effaces it. Confused??
Well, to simplify it, the artists who practice this kind of art, actually remove filth/ dirt from public property like walls etc which acts like their canvas & in doing so, create imagery that is one of a kind. Thus the art created, is a mural that is both simple & expressive which goes to show that even without putting paint on a canvas, art can be expressed by removing something from it!!!!
Maybe it is work such as this, that is ultimately needed to jolt people out of their complacency & make them realise that the world is a really dirty place & what is found outside, will in most certainty be found inside since we inhale the same thing!!!
Chikankari work is a fine & intricate kind of mesh embroidery that originated & is traditionally done even now in Lucknow, thus also being known as 'Lucknowi work'. Its origins are unclear but it is believed to be introduced by Nur Jehan, Mughal emperor Jahangir's wife who was inspired by Turkish embroidery.
The making of the fabric usually involves block-printing a pattern on large pieces of fabric after which the embroiderer then stitches onto this pattern. The finished piece is then carefully washed to remove all traces of the printed pattern & the cloth material is ready to be used. Although this process might seem pretty simple, it is actually quite time consuming & inorder to make each piece different, the embroiderer usually makes use of different threads of varying thickness with different stitches ultimately resulting in a fabric that gives a very lacy effect (jali), which is the most striking feature of the work The patterns used are flowing & includes tiny floral motifs & other designs covering just a part of the fabric or all of it.
10 April 2010
Jazz is actually a music genre that originated in the US as a form of confrontation by the blacks who were forced to listen & learn European music. The music has a special relationship to time, called as 'swing' & requires one to constantly improvise, be able to accept & be open to different kinds of music, thus developing ones own individuality. Thus we find that a skilled performer can interpret a tune in many different ways, never playing the same composition exactly the same way twice. This may be the reason why we find different variations of the same song!!!!
This music genre has also given rise to its own dance form, called 'swing', the steps of which were used in our very own old hindi movies. Although at first Jazz was mainly played by the African american community, due to the fall of aparthied, other European singers too began to sing in the style thus making its usage more widespread. It can single-handedly be credited with giving rise to other musical genres like European Jazz, Dixieland music, Bebop music, Latin Jazz, soul, funk, punk, smooth & acid jazz etc which was mostly done by mixing jazz with various other musical forms.
08 April 2010
The ANDREA Air Filter which is currently sold in the US, uses household plants as natural indoor air cleaners thus ridding air of toxins & pollutants. It was invented by the French designer, Mathieu Lehanneur in collaboration with Harvard professor David Edward.
In our quest for growth, we seem to have ignored the side & after-effects of human intervention & have to contend with various accompanying hazards. Lets hope, products like the above help reduce our carbon footprint to some extent atleast!!!!
Known as India's 'Frida Kahlo', she managed to carve a niche for herself in Indian art thus becoming one of the Nine great Masters whose works were declared as national treasures by the Government of India.
Born in Hungary to an Indian father & Hungarian mother, she was brought up in Shimla learning music & enacting plays along with her younger sister. She formerly started painting at the age of 8 yrs & travelled around Europe & Italy to learn art from European painters like Cezanne & Gauguin, mostly being influenced by their western style. Her first work, 'Three girls' in 1935, got her elected to the highest art salon in Paris making her the youngest Asian to have done so. All of this was'nt enough to satisfy her emotionally though, leaving her with an intense longing to return to India!!!
In India, she worked prolifically, influenced by both Mughal & Pahari schools of paintings as well as depictions of life in South India. Her paintings are intense & portray Indian life with all their nuances & ethos. She was a non-confirmist & this was reflected in the bohemian way she lived & also in her art, wherein she actually painted herself nude, being one amongst the earliest woman artists to have done so.
Leaving behind her huge body of work, Amrita died prematurely just before the opening of her first major show in Lahore & although she was deprived of seeing the heights to which she could have gone, she would have been happy to have known that her works continue to be a source of inspiration for artists like me!!!!
As a child, Mercury was influenced by Indian music, especially Lata Mangeshkar but he also followed & incorporated other styles of music into his work, primarily 'The rolling stones', Jimi Hendrix & 'The Beatles'. He wrote most of the group's songs without even being able to read music, but by making use of a variety of different key signatures. His songs were so intricate that they comprised of dozens of chords & merged totally different music genres.
His premature death from AIDS, put an end to the illustrious career of a man who though depicting a larger than life persona on stage, was a very shy & introverted person off it. It was a pity that his personal life over-shadowed his musical genius, but as happens with most legends, the worth of his work can only be felt & realised now, when he is no more.
05 April 2010
Any cloth/ garment can be embellished with kantha stitch/ embroidery since it is the most simplest of stitches in the language of embroidery. The way in which the stitch is filled inside a design in different arrangements, forms the complex vocabulary of kantha. It can enhance the most simplest of sarees or cloth materials.
03 April 2010
Also called the painted prayers, the term rangoli is derived from the words rang (colour) and aavalli ('coloured creepers'). It is known with different names in different parts of India, Kolam in Kerala, Alpana in Bengal, Madana in Rajasthan etc.
The designs are beautiful to behold & just reflect the fact that every person is born with an artistic bent of mind!!!