Monday, November 27, 2006

Artist ,idiology and activism.

A painting of mine.This is more than 25 years old.Do not remember the year exactly for it is not now with me. Paintings, should they have a message?Should they reflect the turmoils in the society? (it usually will reflect in the work of the artist if his mind is in turmoil :-) Or should it be an instrument of social change?Should it have an idiology?Should art be used as a tool or is it solely for self-expression of the artist?Won't all these burden an artist and his work? Can he be true when he works for an 'audience'? Will not the need to be popular affect his work,ultimately . These should be debated.

An artist will be at his best when he is left free,no doubt.With the state breathing down on his back how does he work?But when he has no quarrel with" the state's idiology " then obviously he has no problem.Can that state last for long? Sooner than later the powers that be will meddle and remind him of his" duty".Will that not affect his artistic development?

All said and done-the artists of communist Rassia did produce some very fine works. Modern works and realistic ones . Here are a couple of paintings from Communist Russia.

This painting on left is by Nikolai Ippolitovich Dt 1957,called"Before the Storm"

The one below is called"Builders of G.E.S Brotherhood(1961) by Viktor Efimovich Popkov.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My "Post"

This is the cozy corner of my house where I seem to be spending most of my time now. I completed 4 new paintings this month! The latest being something I like very much.A young man reading out some thing he finds interesting to his friend-a girl in a city park. Some thing which impressed me when I saw London was the open spaces around and inside the big city.What I saw was very different to the picture I had of London in my mind-from all that I had read about it.One of the strangest sights I saw at London was a fox trotting down the road as I peeped out of the hotelroom window at night. We stayed very close to Hyde Park. I love that city . Wonder if I was able to convey what I had in my mind when I painted it.Hope to put it up on the blog soon.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Unhappy Happy

Yesterday ,I went to an exhibition of 'digital images 'created by B Priyaranjanlal.There were some interesting creations,like the one where 4 men are shown trying to drag an airplane across a writing table ,like a kite, to get it to fly. I have never tried my hands at such an artform yet.Any way, why not make my dog Happy walk through muck :-) so I thought ,when I came home after the show.He would rather starve than walk though wet ground to his food. (He would do anything to avoid getting his paws dirty or even wet) The photograph of the slushy Mumbai roads after the rains ,provided by Rajeev.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Some thoughts on Ravi Varma.

Here you see a painting by Raja Ravi Varma(1848-1900).A man and a woman romancing around a pillar.Now you know from where our film directors at Bollywood got their ideas on how young men and women should'romance'-express their love running around trees and pillars.Movie watchers around the world are captivated by the ingenuity with which we have been running the same kind of love sequences for so many decades. This is another painting in oil by Ravi Varma of a Travancore princess.Note her traditional dress. But it is said that it was Ravi Varma who popularised the 'saree' as a dress for women of Kerala,for his female models were mostly from North India, mainly from Maharashtra,and they wore sarees,as this lady in his painting at left. Here you see an painting of mine in mixed media.A writer trying to capture her muse on her paper:-) .

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thoughtful brahmin

I present here a figurative painting I did recently in acrylic based on one done many years ago,nearly 30 years ago during my student days.I hope I can put up that original painting too soon. This picture represents a brahmin.But you dont be surprised to know that the person who inspired me to paint this was a Muslim neighbour of ours at Bangalore.Those were the days when Bangalore was really 'a city of gardens'.There were great open places around besides the well laid out gardens.There were open spaces around the bungalows .The pace of life was leisurely.This gentleman who lived in our neighbourhood was a 'land -lord' that is made his living by collcting rent on the numerous buildings he owned ,and could be found leaning on the wall of his huge compound most afternoons looking at the people passing by on the road.Hope it looks interesting :-).

Sold by 'Suryakanthi Art Gallery ' ,Trivandrum.

Monday, November 06, 2006

' friends at tea '

Above is a painting called 'watch man' by famous American realistic artist Daniel E Green. On left is a painting called'the girl at the window'by famous Iranian realistic painter Iman Maleki.My sister sent it to me.It is so realistic that it can be passed off as a photo.You can find more of his paintings on this site.www.imanmaleki.com On top is a painting of mine named 'friends at Tea'.It is oil on canvas.I painted it as a sovenir of the carefree days of youth when you had all the time for friendship and it was easier to meet friends who shared your taste and ideas.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Family portrait

Here is a photo of a painting .I painted it some time ago.Imagine finding an old box in your attic belonging to a forefather opening it and finding a faded and torn ,ready to crumble family photo and you carefully straighten it and place it on a brown paper and try to restore it as best as you can.Imagined?So this is that :-). It portrays a young landlord of 'Gods own country' and his family. The Department of Tourism gave this catchphrase to its advertisements on Kerala tourism when my husband was the head of the depatrment.Perhaps it was meant to remind the viewers also that this land of Kerala was claimed by 'the mighty axe wielding brahmin warrior Parasurama' an incarnation of Vishnu ,from Varuna -the sea god.So Gods own land -lush and green and beautiful. The dress of Malayalee was 'a mundu' -a piece of white cotton cloth wraped around the waist and another cloth narrower in width thrown over the shoulders called 'angavastram'.No shirt for the malayali man--how ever high or low he was in society. The king and pauper wore mundu and an angavastram -same white dress. Infact the lower caste had no right to cover the upper part of his body infront of the upper caste men or women.As for the hindu woman,she wore a mundu the same way as her men and threw a piece of cloth over her bossom .No bodice or blouse.'Free and proud ;-).This was the case even as recently as a little more than half a century ago.In fact wearing a blouse was considered debasing--loosing caste and shameful, just a century ago.Nair women had no need for 'bra burning and women's rights movements'.So this is the photo from those days.Days when the nairs followed the matrilinear system .

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Happy 50th birth day Kerala"

Today was celebrated as the golden jublee of the founding of the State of Kerala,by bringing together the states of Travancore,Cochin and Malabar.One could find many women dressed in the traditional dress of Kerala on the roads today, unlike the other days when 'salvar-kameezes'outnumber sarees .One hardly sees any 'mundu and neriyathu'the real Malayalee dress for women on the roads these days. Here I will present you a painting of 'thiruvathira kali' I painted in Acrylic on canvas. Wouldn't you want to know what is so special about this 'thiruvathira kali'? Ok here we go- It is a simple dance form , originally almost exclusivly of Nair community of Kerala.When you come to think of it ,there is some thing exceptional about Thiruvathira it self.It is a festival exclusively for women :-).It goes to show the clout women had in the Nair Tharavad ? Dont know. There is something very moving about this festival anyway.It is celebrated according to tradition to commemorate the death of "Kamadeva"the god of love.(to some, the birthday of Lord Siva). Thiruvathira falls in the month of December when the climate is usually cool.The women wake up early by 4 am and go to the Temple Pond or to the Tharavad 'kulam'(swimming pool:-) )if they have one and have their bath.As they bathe they sing songs about the god of love,accompanied by the sound of rhythemic music made by their palms hitting and splashing the water.As they conclude the women stand in water hand in hand in circle and sing songs.Does that not evoke a special picture in your mind?Hope to paint that one day. That night is kept apart for singing and dancing by the women--round and round a wick lamp (nilavilakku)with rhythemic clapping of hands.