Art and Photography

Synesthesia – when two senses interact 

All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music. —Walter Pater

Music allows us to go into a deep state of “being” and touch chords which are often unexplored in the circle of life. Color shares a deep bonding with the being and is capable of invoking never experienced emotions or reactions. Synesthesia – where two senses meet, attempts to take this very connection of “being”, music, and colors; investigate their relationship with human mind as it changes with the setting and rising sun, and explode it on the canvas.

The work presented here narrates the journey the mind dwelled into while listening to a single piece of music at different time intervals (morning, afternoon, night). Each painting is accomplished in a single sitting by listening to the music in a loop. Ranging from a reaction on the nailing of human emotions into concrete to escaping into the wild, from the ephemeral bounds into violent claims, the work presented here unfolds a journey, which can be travelled by being in that moment.

Drawing from the works of John Cage, where his performances were termed  “more like happenings”, Synesthesia is more like giving into the happenings inside the mind at a given period of time. It is not a presentation of the process that is achieved through deliberation and determination. In true sense, nothing is accomplished, no task is completed, it is an experience within the being, relished, enjoyed, and just kept there, without the restriction of medium, pattern, skills, the right way or wrong.

With time this experience will change and have a different meaning, for the creator and the viewer, both. Imagine taking Cage’s 4’33’’ and making it a part of daily life and then observing our own reactions/actions on it, without any set boundaries. The result may be the euphoria we may feel over a period of time, or a reflection of a deep emotional bonding with nature, or something that cannot be felt at all.

I hope you all enjoy the performance.  To view the video, click here.

Unleashing Boston Evenings 

This project showcases various places in Boston between 6 PM to 7 PM, with help of photographs. To view the images, click here.

 Draupadi Through My Eyes

Poets have told it before, poets are telling it now, other poets shall tell this history on earth in the future. 

The Mahabharata is India’s greatest epic of all times. Its dramatic narrative, troubled heroes, and philosophical and moral conundrums have captivated people of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia for more than 2,000 years. M.F. Husain was drawn into its circle of enchantment nearly 40 years ago and has repeatedly returned to portray the compelling drama of its characters and conflicts in 1971, 1983, and 1990.

Some important characters of this epic, which are also present in my work are:

Arjuna – Third of the five Pandava brothers, the most valorous of all. He was the son of the Indra and had two wives, Draupadi and Subhadra. He had excelled in using his left hand for archery.

Bhima – Second of five pandavas brothers and was an expert in mace fighting. he was awarded with the strength of ten thousand elephants.

Draupadi – Draupadi had a marvelous blend of intensity that suits Kshatriyas and forgiveness that fits devotees. She was very intelligent and knowledgeable. Draupadi, the heroic princess of the epic Mahabharata is the epitome of feminism.  Throughout history Draupadi has remained an enigmatic woman of substance. Fragile, with a granite will, compassionate yet volcanic enough to reduce her enemies to ashes. She was into polyandry and married all of the five Pandavas.

Nakula – Fourth of the Pandava brothers and a twin to Sahdeva. He was the handsomest of the Pandava and possessed prowess in animal medicines. He was a great horse rider.

Sahdeva – Fifth of the Pandava brother, Sahdeva was a twin to Nakula and an expert in sword fighting.

Yudhishtira – Eldest of the Pandava brother, he was a religious follower of the duties laid down. He was fair and just in all his decisions.

M.F. Husain’s Draupadi

Draupadi’s marriage to the five brothers has never been the theme in Husain’s painting, thought it is referred to occasionally. With a number of complex significations attached to this character, Husain’s portrayal of Draupadi is more human than anything. He shows her human traits like, pity, rage, anger, terror, et al through his canvas.

Many a times, Husain has made her sit / fall in the middle ground, almost depicting the fact of how she is stuck between heaven and earth. One part, which is regarded as an incarnation of god, and another, which is human and is sold over a dice board.

My Draupadi

When I picked up this concept to take it further, I was, like many struck by the rod of feminism, looking only at the miseries caused by the human race on one helpless, fragile, and frail character from the epic. Undoubtedly, her misery was uncontested among her peers in the epic. However,  during my further study of  Draupadi’s character, I started to look beyond the realms of considering her an incarnation of god in the epic, and viewing her in the direction of real flesh and blood, which can have many facets. I started seeing her without the baggage of claims.

To my revelation, Draupadi, one who was born out of a great sacrificial fire, has a highly charged anger about her. Her lust for revenge equated her devotion for her family. Such a lethal combination made her the most desirable and at the same time highly political in the entire epic and in history. Post her dis-robing in the epic, she further became a woman of complex and profound vehemence, one throughly capable of bringing devastation of human mind, let alone the empires.

In my work, I have tried to bring about this combination of female fragility that unfolds in the history and her astute and political side, which made her rule the empire along with her five husbands. My work talks about the split of the same personality to which Ganesha, the scriber of Mahabharata is witness to. It also reveals the fragility of the character, who can be bet upon a game and at the same time be a reason for the war. No other woman in the entire epic compounds such intense duality in her personality: the sinister and the gentle.

To view the photographic exhibition, click here.

To read report on M.F. Hussain, click here.

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