Monday, April 25, 2011

Speculatio through Drawing, an abstract

My presentation at UNIDCOM / IADE 6th Intl Conf (Oct 2011, Lisbon), in the category THE Sense of DRAWING, Making Sense through Sensibility (knowing through drawing) would have proceeded from the following abstract. 

However, due to reasons beyond my control stemming from extenuating circumstances, this paper could not be presented in Lisbon!

Speculatio through Drawing
Drawing allows me to reflect on ideas that lend themselves to deep introspection—a search for possibilities in phenomena that pass across and within my senses—works which are reflections on concerns situated at the intersection and layering of religion, sexuality, and consciousness. “Layering” is a metaphor for encapsulating fragments and wholes that convey, power, compassion, and the memory of time & culture.

Through drawing, I attempt to achieve organic marks which reveal the underlying emotions of our thoughts and ideas—a receiving. I enter spaces to bring out natures within my being, and comprehend through speculatio--contemplative reflection—to which otherwise I would not be privy.

My drawings are an attempt at wholeness; an orison—towards assigning marks and generating form of the formless, often within extreme abstraction; employing a broad range of media and approaches, some learnt through an ongoing practice in Shodo. More recent works fall within the following areas: a book of thirty drawings on torture; works on the theme We do not come by our Thoughts, They come to us; drawing letterforms and other subjects while glimpsing, gleaning and assigning meaning to the works in the manner approached and through the act and dynamics of drawing.

The knowing, comes from an innate desire to flesh out a thought through drawing—where the mind works with "memories" harnessing the body and its dynamics, as one lays down marks accordingly—from seeing the thought in the way it reveals itself, and/or as one reflects upon it—modulating the information as it gets constructed, and even as the piece reveals itself. I draw from  ideas—with some concreteness as in a  fictional character constructed by a writer/poet perhaps from accumulated experiential angst; or with more diaphanous notions as in the epiphanic, the euphonious; or by seeing possibilities for expressing ineffabilities—following the stirrings that one cannot  place, yet are real and palpable...knowing has begun. The realization is a drawing.

The concreteness of working with time—the attempt to represent visually is two-fold. One is embracing the thought to the best of ones ability—this being a visual manifestation. The other is conveying glimpses of time in one piece—but without freezing a moment. Spatiality, temporality, looking at appearances, drawing from within those perceptions--what appears reliable—and attempting to weave such consciousness into one’s experience is my drawing practice.

image: Vicissitudes of Exile IV

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Flank attacks :: Young turks

As we get into our 50s, even mid 40s it helps to remember that the younger generation will often impetuously open flank attacks as a way of showcasing their presence and sense of knowing. Often it will be on issues which they have not bothered to engage with at a deeper concerted level, and that too when the privilege was graciously accorded to them (no ifs, ands and buts here). So it behooves us to step back, not introduce complexity -- since in the first place it is the uncommon, or esoteric that displaces them. This happens less with those who have sustained intellectual curiosity and are willing to go on a journey where learning matters. In talking this approach, one keeps oneself relatively intact as also ready to respond in and towards a cognizant awareness.

Image: Detail of We do not come by our Thoughts; They come to us: 6

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Economic crimes and distancing

"China's foreign ministry has confirmed that police are investigating artist Ai Weiwei for suspected economic crimes."

The term "economic crimes", I presume it has been translated correctly: points to exactly where a country, its leaders, its people stand to get affected -- all in all, in all certainlty -- in different ways. Political strategy and philosphy (including the ancient, and that too very conveniently) is applied to maintain hierarchies and distancing. Such terms lay bare the paucity and yet the power contained in language in different hands and utterances - something that has not be done quite so bluntly in the West.

Being charaterized as an avatar of things to come is what is prescient here -- ones acts, actions, lived aesthetics that jeopardize -- status quos'. My motherland (for all realities a gender unto itself) wears out its people, others take theirs out -- make attempts to dispossess body, mind and spirit/ soul (yes this is it); while yet others make you ambivalent about who you are, what you could be, how do you maintain cohesion -- and the process accelerates.

On 8 April, at about 9.40am or so Anna Hazare unpon breaking his fast at Jantaar Mantar, ( “I fought for 10 years for the Right to Information Act. When it was enacted, it helped in the decentralisation of the power. The British centralized all laws. They said people should abide by the laws; the government would implement the laws. Whereas, the Right to Information Act says the government should abide by the laws, people would oversee their implementation.

“You see, the CBI, the Vigilance Commission, the Lokpal—all the agencies that are meant to curb corruption are under the control of the state. The CBI has so far inquired into many corruption cases. Did they send any minister to jail? Did any IAS or IPS officer go to jail?

“Because, if anyone tried to do that, the government would warn them, shut your mouth. Otherwise your shop will be shut."

Image: Detail of We do not come by our Thoughts; They come to us: 4

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lending substance to dreams

Anant Pai (1929-2011), who conceptualised and created the Amar Chitra Katha series of comics, stands out as one of those who gave substance to our visualisation of Subcontinental mythology and history. Though working in a genre – comic books – that is often looked down upon, his influence in this regard is immense, akin to that of Raja Ravi Verma. Criticised as a defender of the status quo and simultaneously lionised for rekindling awareness of our traditions and past, Pai, for better or worse, was a seminal influence in envisioning the images which people our historical imagination.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Thank you all -- 1000 unique visitors as of today.

Edith Stein says, "Lifepower that has gone into the real impulse spends itself partly in its runoff, partly in the doing that perhaps proceeds from it. Therefore the doing simultaneously represents the fulfillment or satisfaction of the impulse." (in Impulse and Inclination in Philosophy of Psychology and the Humanities)