Abiding power of soul-stirring art

Nations may boast good economics, but if the citizenry hasn’t found its artistic calling, they are incomplete.

 |  5-minute read |   30-11-2019
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Today, much in our lives polarises our human collective into disparate tribes. The climate is such that it is easiest to sit divided, blame the other, and find flaws in the views of those we deem different. Even within family units one can find utter lack of parity when it comes to the choices that define us most viscerally. We prefer to be deafened by silence rather than risk a dialogue, because we fear that we will be torn apart by the revelations these conversations bring forth.

But when we indulge in culinary bounty at the table, listen to the notes and pitch of music — vocal or instrumental — observe the bounce that dancers flaunt when on stage, enjoy the majesty of performers acting scenes that move our souls, read heartfelt emotions shared in the ant lines on pages, or wonder at the brilliance that colors, textures and imagery bring to us, we are drawn together from our separated perches and poles. Such is the power of soul-stirring art.

In the worst of economies, in war-torn zones, in testy times, in harrowing homes — one hears of those moments when a meal shared unites enemies; when a tune that makes one move freely and with joy brings two to tango who had forgotten they had anything in common; when a book’s words can heal wounds that have afflicted a people for generations; when a painting can express a universal heartbreak or triumph in every brushstroke.

main_suvir-saran_art_113019014008.jpgNations may boast good economics, but if the citizenry hasn’t found its artistic calling, they are incomplete. (Photo: Suvir Saran)

It is this guttural, deeply eternal, and astoundingly uniting and soulfully healing power that rests in the arts, that makes them of the ages, and relevant to one and all.

A society bereft of good food, music, literature and visual arts is a sad society, one doomed from the get-go. A society and nation might have great GDP, but if its citizenry have not found their artistic calling, they are a people that are incomplete and, thus, make that nation a far from wholesome and welcome society.

In a time when we are busy counting money, pounds/kilos, calories and steps, it is difficult to find those rare rebels who count their blessings instead. In each of us resides talent that is waiting to be discovered and looking for inspiration. A fellowship of humans where the arts find a place of importance becomes a sodality of kindred spirits that transcend their differences, grow together and care for each other, especially the unknown other.

Acceptance is key to concept of ‘Maha Bharat’

Melted Parameters, the show currently on display at Dhoomimal Art Centre, the oldest and most prestigious art gallery of India, gives one a rich sense of what it means to be a human being and also Indian. To artist Pradipta Chakraborty, “every form represents a chariot, and consciousness is the charioteer, intuition its harness, the five senses are five horses. The one, who conquers this wandering consciousness, becomes the recipient of pleasures and pains”. The exhibiton is on display at Dhoomimal Art Centre, 8A Connaught Place, New Delhi until December 10

Chakraborty has the gift of taking the familiar and making it seemingly new as he colours and textures it with his peerless attention to detail and richly layered and nuanced palette. The range, quality, tones, timbres, textures and forms give one a feast for the eyes to behold and another for the mind to be tickled by and drawn back into one’s innermost sanctum.

main_1suvir-saran_ar_113019014346.jpgPradipta Chakraborty (left) with his 12”x12” painting titled ‘Maha Bharat’. (Photo: Suvir Saran)

In his 12”x12” Maha Bharat, he has cleverly shared with us the greatness that defines and separates India from the rest of the world. India lives, India breathes, India shines, India grows, India has a future when all that reside in its lap find acceptance from those others they share the nation with. 

An inclusive awakening

“My awakening happened when I moved to Delhi from Muzaffarpur, a small town in Bihar. There, in plain sight, hanging on balconies, rooftops and inside homes (that I could see from my balcony), I found clothes drying out in the sun. Plain, ordinary and colourful. Just hanging. Drying,” says Aamir Rabbani. These words are next to the six acrylic of his that were chosen by the jury of ‘Awakening’ an LGBTQ art exhibit curated jointly by Inside Out Delhi, The Naz Foundation and the Lalit Suri Hospitality Group that is on display at Art Junction, The Lalit New Delhi, through December 7.

Aamir’s work speaks for itself. It also speaks for everyday people, middle class lives and the average other whom we might never notice even if they were our neighbours. He says, “The clothes, neighborhoods, citizens walking streets, and all that is visible to the eye — only tell a story that they want shared.” With that, Aamir takes us to places familiar, unknown, and some we choose not to see. Words rich with nuance, masterfully rendered paintings and a visual concordance between what’s rather plain, and that which is rich in discovery made Aamir the winner of the 2019 show in my eyes. No wonder he won the People’s Choice Award.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Also read: What’s in a name, what's in a word

Writer

Suvir Saran Suvir Saran @suvirsaran

Suvir Saran is a highly acclaimed and award winning chef, author, and public speaker

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