Confluence of art forms

Confluence  of art forms

Mahua Art Foundation, in collaboration with National Gallery of Modern Art, held a unique event recently which involved the bringing together of two very distinct art forms, painting and dancing.

Under the aegis of renowned classical dancer Malavika Sarukkai and Prof B N Goswamy, India's foremost art historian, audiences were treated to an in-depth exploration of two of India's oldest traditional texts — Bhagavata Purana and the Ramayana.
A leading authority on Indian art, Goswamy’s work covers a wide range of different areas, particularly in the area of Pahiri painting as having influenced much subsequent thinking.

Using over 100 miniature Pahiri paintings, he showed the gathering how traditional artists used devotion and deep insight to create their work.

“The river which Ram crossed along with his family was painted in full spate. The figures and the boat were just slivers in a corner. The artist wanted to portray the fact that they were embarking on a journey fraught with danger and filled with fear of the unknown. In another, he depicts Bharat and Shatrughan returning home after trying unsuccessfully to persuade Ram to come back. The dejected body language of the brothers as they enter an almost empty palace  speak volumes of the feeling of despair and emptiness in the hearts and minds of the people that the painter has so creatively managed to convey,” he says.

Using the stage as a canvas and her dance as a palette and brush, Malavika Sarukkai creates an emotional experience for the audience revealing certain hidden aspects and layers of the ancient texts. “When Ram enters Mithila, the women come forward to greet him filled with joy. Some like deer, others like peacocks, some like stars in the night and others like dazzling bolts of lightening. I use the intensity of the moment to build an emotional high, interspersing utter silence with dramatic movement to create the right mood and effect,” she says.

“Through initiatives like these, we can only hope to shake off some of the dust of time and reach into the heart of the texts and connect their true inner meaning to our audiences,” says Goswamy.

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