Sunday, January 31, 2010

THE DHONUK DIARIES: Raptures - Art Raptures! @ Chitra Santhe.

A superbly sketched, entwined set of thick, wavy, black branches of a tree on a white background made from charcoal pencil or black drawing pen – move in and you figure it’s a man and a woman embracing, the intensity of the artist while he had been sketching this strikes you and blows away your mind!

Two Rajasthani (?) women - one frontal view, one side profile, squatting in a traditionally set room and as you are staring at their colorful dress and the expressions on their faces and at the techniques the artist has so skillfully applied you suddenly figure a third woman somewhere; no, no it is a reflection of the side profile on a mirror she is holding as a glimpse of the eyes staring back - a massive piece in mellow yellows and blues of two friends perhaps.

A beautiful woman, her alluring eyes looking at something ahead, a growling tiger its sharp teeth jutting out of the jaws and the ignited ferocity reflecting in the waters beneath, next, next, next – you can’t just stop gaping wide eyed in wonder at the next painting in succession and your breath reserves are rapidly waning – a watercolor of a nonchalant set of people walking on a bridge, perhaps early morning walkers – the Victoria Memorial by the side; perhaps winter?

There is no end to what you can expect from a painting/sketch or interpret – each person sees a different image, a different message and different connotation. That’s what makes art so emotional, so irrational and definitely human! (*)

I just don’t have enough words for describing what I experienced today at Chitra Santhe – the entire Kumara Krupa Road was cordoned off for the all day long Chitra Santhe (Santhe in Kannada means bazaar) - a one day affair, an annual event. My legs are aching but my mind is fresh as dawn. The volume of art and the diversity of artists I met and interacted with were far too many for me to cover in Toto here. Every lane and by-lane on that not so short road (my aching calf muscles are testimony) and all areas inside the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat were filled chock-a-bloc with artists and their creations.

People thronged to the place; kids jostling for space with their dads, moms, grandmas and grandpas, couples discussing a certain painting to men and women just to have an eyeful of the art wonder spread on both sides of the road and artists from far and wide who had created hundred and thousands of artworks came together again in this unique art space – both sides of an entire road – facilitated by Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat.

There was more than one art-piece that floored me at the Chitra Santhe today! Am still trying to gain back my breath! Phew!! Artists of Indian origin from abroad, a friend of one of my friends, an artist (Ananda) who I had only met virtually on Dhonuk, artists from Kerala, Rajasthan, UP, Bihar, W Bengal and don’t know where else… Some striking original art, some reproductions of masters, some in details and complexity quite beyond comprehension, some minimalist and yet elegant – celebrating art indeed!

Six hours of walking (including chatting, interacting and swapping contacts with artists) I don’t think I managed to cover more than 70% of the art on display and the stall. Of course that is not possible and should not even be attempted, Art needs to be savored, all its beauty, its quirkiness – soaking in all its romance with colors and absurdities and tried and tested formats, to crazy new styles and uniqueness (one set of very high quality and fine art was entirely done using ball point pens). All in all a great Sunday spent in pure company of art - an unique experience you will agree!

So is ART next only in pleasure perhaps to the other famed three letter word! ;) Possibly the 5 letter word Music competes too but then again it is a form of ART isn’t it? :)

* Some insights drawn from a recent talk titled 'Branding & Art' at the IIM Bangalore by brand consultant Harish Bijoor.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Museum of Innocence

The best book I have read in a long, long time! Orhan Pamuk's novel 'The Museum of Innocence' (splendid translation by Maureen Freely) is one of his best and the genius is only getting better! Beats Marquez at times...

Sample this: "Even on our worst days, our reason does not stop speaking to us; even if unequal to the power of our passion, it continues to whisper with merciless candor that our actions will serve no purpose but to heighten our love, and therefore our pain". Never read anything as stunning before...