It is that space where an artist goes to looking for inspiration, a scientist goes to looking for clues, a prophet goes to looking for God, which is ourselves but a source much higher than us. It is through that darkness when one has accustomed oneself to find the way, does the illuminated self evolve from the dark. It is that intense union when a self becomes the higher self and every act becomes synchronized to perceive the message everywhere. It is a potential within all of us.
Size: 30″ X 40″
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas Board
Price: Rs. 1,00,000
Additional shipping cost: Would vary depending on location. Once the postal address is sent, the cost can be informed.
Shipping information: It is painted on a canvas board. Therefore, the canvas can not be rolled for shipping. It is additionally framed. It can be packed in a wooden crate and dispatched.
Size with frame: 34″ X 44″
Weight: 10 kgs (with frame)
Approximate time of completion: 15 to 20 days passively and actively being involved.
Oneday, it just occurred to me that the ceremony of climbing on one another to reach the pot full of butter could actually be very well utilized as a metaphor.
It is known through the stories that Krishna loved butter. His mother used to hang the pots high from the ceiling so that little Krishna can not reach there. But Krishna found a way out of that too. He gathered his friends and climbed on them to reach the butter.
This is enacted every year on the day of Janmashtami. A pot full of yogurt is tied from the string and placed high above. Human pyramids are made and one person reaches the top taking help of others to climb there and breaks the pot and releases the yogurt.
I thought the butter could actually be used to represent wisdom. It is like gradually reaching to that source of knowledge taking help of everyone and breaking it open for all. So many people I have learnt from who have contributed to my own growth gradually letting me reach towards my own source of “butter”.
At this stage, I knew a concept was growing but I did not know yet what I wanted to represent through that. I let it rest in my mind to naturally grow till I was ready to use it on my canvas.
Also, those days I kept missing my older medium, “pen on paper”. How much I enjoyed just holding on to one pen and filling the entire paper, not being bothered about colour. So, in my next painting I felt an urge to retain my older style of working in black and white. But how about going back to that comfort zone yet trying a new outcome? It could instead be “white on black”!
And Krishna and black is a fair combination.
The inspiration behind
I had already had an exhibition in Gurgaon, when I started to work on this canvas. Being a new artist when you make your entry, you get filled with suggestions. There were visitors who suggested, “Why don’t you write the source of where you took these messages from? A shloka or a passage from the scripture? To support the artworks by quoting the texts would make it more genuine and authorized.”
Later, I gave that a thought. Would I like to do that? The answer came from within as “No”. Then I wanted to see why exactly I wanted to avoid that.
I realized I am not really illustrating the scriptures. This is not an illustration project where I have to necessarily sync the texts with the images alongside the book to make it easy for the readers. I am more interested in a spiritual depiction, telling my own tales of my own journey of my own search for the divine. And the freedom of self-realization, interpretation, if taken away from that by stamping it with “authorization” it neither remains spirituality nor art.
Then I faced a big question, “If the scriptures are not your source but inspiration, where then does your work come from?”
And to answer that and to relish in that answer, I started to paint “Message and the master”.
Stories before completion
When I started to work on the painting, the concept in my mind was still not properly formed. I was not really sure what exactly I tried to convey. But even with that vague idea I went ahead to start.
While I created the helping figures on which Krishna would be standing on top, I started to question myself, what would that signify? The ordinary people who helped one climb, would remain ordinary? The one who would climb taking help of others would become Krishna? I did not like the message through that. I tried to take reference from my own life. People who I drew inspiration from and used as guide and the people who pushed me above to climb up, were not ordinary people. They were themselves Krishna.
Then to equalize everyone in that scenario, I put the peacock plume on each one. Now, it looked just. But again in this context what does that signify?
Every being is Krishna, that’s alright. But that loses the entire purpose of making the figures climb on each other to have that Krishna on top.
And this is one of those moments when you decide to leave your painting aside. Now there would be a series of phases passively helping the artwork. I have to rest and wait for the answer to come to me for me to proceed further.
I paused my painting for a few days and focused on other things rather. I used to learn Belly dance those days. And one day after a class when I returned home, I was just thinking to myself, within my one life I have lived so many different ones. I was a nerd in one stage, in another I learnt to socialize. In one life I dreaded at the idea of dancing. And now in this life I even learnt to dance.
And then, a lock opened up.
There are many selves within our own selves, one helping the other. My older self helped the newer self to develop, that self again through its own existence helped in the birth of a more refined one.
And then I looked at the painting that was left half-done. At the base there are more figures. As it went up, it became lesser. There are so many contradictory selves I myself had. As I kept growing they met each other, settled their disputes and merged. And at the top there is only one self that remains. This highly refined self represents the oneness from the variations found everywhere.
Also in my meditations, initially the self is restless and divided into many and is scattered here and there. As I concentrate, it gathers and merges and gradually becomes one entity and only then it is meditation.
With this realization, I continued to paint again and completed the artwork.
While I painted I asked myself the question that I had earlier asked, “Where does your work then come from?”
And then I found the answer, “When all my selves have gathered, when with the help of each of those part I have reached near that pot which stores the butter and I have managed to crack it open and let the butter shower, the source of all wisdom, mine and others’ lies there.
You then stand closer to the lips of that higher “self” of Vishnu, Brahma or Shiva (I tried to leave the hints through the chakra in hand, lotus at the bottom and the crescent shaped moon in the hair). You play the same music that flows in the Universe. You are one with your master and you speak on his behalf. It is the message and you are the messenger.