When art becomes the lingua franca

God is watching you – A familiar saying used by every parent to control their kids’ tantrums. If you hadn’t believed them then, it’s time you changed your decision.

Those captivating eyes, probably of the supreme, are everywhere. They bewitch you, along with the interplay of colours in the paintings, which blend and breathe. At points where the colours merge, you almost want to look away as they moan with pleasure celebrating another creation by Vandana Jain, in her collection, An eternal endeavour at La Galerie D’Expression.

One of the pieces, done on a tray had a couple’s faces at the centre, bulged out – like how you see yourself at the back of a spoon. Then to make things slightly creepy are eyes staring at the couple from the parting of a curtain of colours surrounding them.

“Sometimes I just don’t know what I am painting. See this one here,” said Vandana, walking towards one of her paintings which had eyes drawn on rectangular frames, like reflection of ones face in broken pieces of a mirror. “I just did many geometrical patterns initially and then left it for two days, after which I got a spiritual calling to paint Durga’s face and a tiger’s to complete it.” The piece, however, looks like a result of several months’ planning.

If the eyes didn’t remind you of Karma enough, a few paintings ahead, you find yourself face to face with the huge Gomateshwara, a deity worshipped by the Jains. The 35-year-old painting, seemingly real and intricate, had not missed out even the creepers which, as the history has it, had grown on his hands due to extended meditation.

An ardent meditator herself, she recounts how in the past her emotions have been guided by god himself. “I still remember the night when Ganesha came in my dreams,” she said, automatically joining her hands in a pranam. “The next day, the first thing I drew, almost effortlessly was his eyes,” added Vandana, who has done her thesis on Chinese pottery as a part of her MFA programme at Stella Maris.

Thus, if one wishes to see a lingering obsession with Chinese art in her paintings, there is a series of Chinese literati works at display, which have succeeded in capturing the ecosystem of Mount Fuji and the Indian landscapes, in its magnificent form, all in black and white. Chinese art, she said, focuses a lot on perfection – a flaw in a single stroke will result in your work being discarded. This makes one appreciate the simple bamboo tree, or the more abstract ones like Japanese orchids, even more.

Be it abstract pieces like the portrayal of four seasons on one canvas or concrete ones that depict Shankeshwar parshvanath, the snake god for Jains, and his wife, Padmavathy, one can see the use of peacock feathers, the geometrical patterns of circles and triangles, or the ripe orange sun, being used in most of them to retain a sense of divinity.

While packing the spiritual grace apart from the artistic pleasure, be sure to stuff in some luck from the Waterfall exuberance, which she refers to as her lucky painting, as it got her son married and helped raise her financial status.

The exhibition is on at Ambassador Pallava till June 30.

This article was previously published in The New Indian Express. Check out the link : http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/c/1230369


Fearless at 75 !

When talking about someone who has been a fighter all his life – fighting for justice and fearing the least as the cases against him bounced from court to court, among an array of lawyers and judges– one would expect to see a hefty Thor- type figure, domineering and demanding.

Instead we saw a thin delicate man in late 70s, enter the hall in a white suit with his shirt pockets sagging due to the weight of a bundle of papers, describing which he said, “These papers are to identify that any person old or young standing before you is Traffic Ramaswamy. They are petitions.”

Traffic RamaswamyPicture source: Google

Traffic Ramaswamy
Picture source: Google

It was shocking to learn that he carried his 200 Public Interest Litigations wherever he went. He carried them as a symbol of power, a power which every citizen can use to fight for his or her rights – a phenomenon, which he says hardly happens in our country. “All are afraid. That’s the main reason. Unless you question, you wont get your legitimate rights”.

“I am afraid of nothing,” he said, attributing his undying valour to his idolization of Rajaji. According to him a role model is necessary to keep us in the track of “self discipline”.

Sitting on the chair, as he reminisced about his bitter experiences in court, his petite figure radiated an unbeatable confidence.

With a history of cases registered against him for pick pocketing under article 420 in the past 9 years, he had been a notable one for the police. Winning all these cases was a feather on his cap which he was proud of.

In 1984, he was falsely accused and jailed for four days for cheating a civilian off Rs 2000 by wearing the police uniform. He claimed that the arrest was an excuse by the police to take revenge on him for the number of cases of corruption he had filed against them.

Though the odds were against him, his guts made him retort to the police saying, “I ll show you who I am once I come out of jail. I ll see to it that you are nowhere in Tamil Nadu”.

Always a man of words, his statement was fulfilled. The moment he won the case, the police “was punished by God” and died on the spot, he said.

This melodramatic case of death brought in whispers from the crowd. He silenced them explaining that “when you are given birth on this earth, death is already decided – you can’t change.” He further added that it is self conscience we should be more bothered about and not death.

May be it is this self conscience which is preventing him from entering Politics – a field which according to many is best suited for him. However, the word politics seemed to disinterest him.  For someone who is “the top man, even higher than the Chief Minister”, how would politics suffice after all !