Saturday, June 15, 2013

Talking About Art With WeChat

If nothing were impossible, I would like to be a part of an adda with Leonardo da Vinci, William Blake, Pablo Picasso, Abanindranath Tagore, and Andy Warhol. I would want this chat to take place so that I could see how these visionaries think together. I would like to see what they feel about the place of art in our times, how art can repair the damage we have done to ourselves.
Leonardo was a polymath if there was ever one. He was also far ahead of his time in terms of creative thinking. His application to the Duke of Milan not only enumerates his usefulness as a war strategist and inventor but also supplies a plan B, listing out how he can contribute during peacetime. He laid down most of the basics of representational art that we now take for granted. His use of light and shade is stuff that legends are made of, especially in the context of 15th century art. Along with Bacon, Michelangelo and Galileo, he redefined the place of man in the context of creation, and created the concept of the renaissance man.

Vitruvian Man - drawing by Leonardo da Vinci
William Blake, born three centuries after da Vinci, was a visionary in the truest sense of the term. Not only did he have visions as a child, but he went on to document his worldview in words and paintings that his world was not ready for. He was outspoken and mystic at the same time, and even today, much of what he meant is only slowly realized by readers and viewers. Known more for his highly allegoric yet uplifting poetry, he was also a brilliant artist. His views on love, sex, religion, and society earned him some distrust from his peers, but in time, he was recognized as a pathbreaker.

Pieta by William Blake

If there are two names that one must take when speaking of modern Indian art, and if one has already mentioned Ravi Varma, the other has to be Abanindranath. Little known to the contemporary world, he was the man behind the creation of the Bengal School of Art. His greatest contribution to the emergence of modern Indian art was in the way he blended contemporary perspectives with the traditional Mughal, Rajput and Buddhist schools of art. Like all the others in this chat session list, he was not only a great artist, but also a gifted writer.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Kitchens of India Weekend Party

Friends and family have both been redefined for me over and over during the course of my life. This thought struck me as I decided to write about a weekend party for friends and family. Today, my friends and family are those who accept me as I am, who stay in touch in spite of their hectic lives, who worry if I don’t respond to their calls or emails, who encourage me in the dreams I pursue. Somehow, the friends and family that I have today challenge the conventional definition. These are people I have met as I chose to find meaning, and to create meaning with my life and - you know who you are – this post, this virtual party is for you.

Where shall the party be? We live in a very small apartment in the middle of the city. We chose this place after a huge search. It is small and airy, and we have a zoo on our neighbors terrace that we can view from our balcony. We have cane seating that has nails sticking out so that no one gets too comfortable. And we keep open minds most days of the week. This is where the party shall be.


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