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Articles on this Page
- 05/27/12--12:04: _Art reviews
- 06/03/12--11:06: _Lively performance
- 06/03/12--11:10: _Values of artisanship
- 06/10/12--12:13: _Music Reviews
- 06/10/12--12:15: _Art reviews
- 07/01/12--13:11: _Art reviews
- 07/01/12--13:13: _Music reviews
- 07/15/12--10:03: _Music & dance reviews
- 07/15/12--10:08: _Art reviews
- 07/29/12--12:12: _Music reviews
- 07/29/12--12:17: _Art reviews
- 08/12/12--11:08: _Music & dance reviews
- 08/12/12--11:10: _Art reviews
- 08/26/12--09:40: _Art reviews
- 08/26/12--09:42: _Music & dance reviews
- 09/09/12--09:52: _Honouring life in d...
- 09/09/12--09:55: _Music & dance reviews
- 09/16/12--11:15: _Art reviews
- 09/16/12--11:19: _Music reviews
- 09/23/12--11:38: _Art reviews
- 05/27/12--12:04: Art reviews
- 06/03/12--11:06: Lively performance
- 06/03/12--11:10: Values of artisanship
- 06/10/12--12:13: Music Reviews
- 06/10/12--12:15: Art reviews
- 07/01/12--13:11: Art reviews
- 07/01/12--13:13: Music reviews
- 07/15/12--10:03: Music & dance reviews
- 07/15/12--10:08: Art reviews
- 07/29/12--12:12: Music reviews
- 07/29/12--12:17: Art reviews
- 08/12/12--11:08: Music & dance reviews
- 08/12/12--11:10: Art reviews
- 08/26/12--09:40: Art reviews
- 08/26/12--09:42: Music & dance reviews
- 09/09/12--09:52: Honouring life in death
- 09/09/12--09:55: Music & dance reviews
- 09/16/12--11:15: Art reviews
- 09/16/12--11:19: Music reviews
- 09/23/12--11:38: Art reviews
A part of "Affidavit", the exhibition by Bharathesh G.D. at Bar1 (May 12 to 14), one faced on entering the space was meant, as the title suggested, to only document or merely indicate the character of the works he had displayed in Bern after his Swiss residency last year.
Without being able to experience it as art, one gathered that the series revolving round "Sound Signature" 'where language takes form and sound remains abstract' proved the mutually responsive but enigmatic and resistant to measurement interdependence of what ones sees and hears.
Although the effort at somewhat evoking the feel of the Swiss event through screening a silent video did not succeed, the viewer could realise how much the current preoccupation with synaesthesia came from elements dormant in his earlier multi-media endeavours.
This led to the best results in the new sculptural installation which based on Bharathesh's familiar fascination with very intense, overbearing and raw sensations that trigger a layered potential of not exclusively divergent associations of meaning, while an intuition of dynamic and strong but not quite clear processes and emotions arising is generated.
If one found such approach to art-making suitable to the nature of the social and natural environment in India before, the impression persisted this time too.
The installation "Remains as it can" indeed enhanced the premonition of several levels and manifestations of things observed in their shaping, the very impermanence of the main substance used underscoring the powerful yet ungraspable impact of the phenomenon simultaneously on different senses.
In the dim room, one first felt the blend of the aesthetic and the rough, as three simple, black pedestals covered in glass carried dark, serpentine bodies that expanding emerged from tiny chemical tablets normally used in fire crackers during festivals here.
Slowly, one began to notice that a laser beam grid cut across the forms making them burn at some points. The red lines in the air, becoming more lucid amid smoke and yet intangible, generated grainy, glowing wounds in the curving volumes whose almost ornamental curlicues acquired a sensuous coarseness that let one remember organic life and human skin.
Smelling the partly natural, incense-like aroma and attuning oneself to the sharp-dull-cracking-windy sounds recorded while handling the material, one could gauge the ambiguous, subtle and irresistible force of the imperceptibly exploding substance that unfolds by itself and which doomed science tries to name in chemical formulae and span within laser rays.
Even if the burning was too slow to spot, the awareness that everything there would eventually turn into ashes heightened the aura of life ever processing itself and fragile in its mutating expressiveness.
This piece being truly powerful, one may not have paid equal attention to the video screened nearby, especially that it did not always function well.
One from the "Sound Signature" cycle, it took advantage of the hall architecture so as to conjure a somewhat painting-like frame for the picture in a recess, both elements of the video creating flickering abstract patterns and stretches of pastel hues that may have let one think of landscape.
Whereas the artist's explanation helped the spectator feel the sculptural pieces better, coming to know here that the very pleasant visuals had been drawn from retina and eye scans did not really flesh out the intended content and left one wondering whether to connect the rhythm with sound.
The display of paintings by Roshan Sahi which happened some time ago at Jaaga looked unpretentiously nice but made one wonder about the anachronistic the manner in which they handled abstraction.
The saturated brightness of the few smallish compositions was muted on a cultured note without overstressing contrasts but bringing out gentle pulsations from underneath.
Against the large white backgrounds, the works added together to aesthetic design.
The viewer was taken by their innocence but at the same time baffled by the date nature of their content that in fact could be associated with early phases of European Modernism, something one does not encounter much here nowadays.
Evidently non-representational in their look and intention, they works nonetheless appeared to be compelled to hold abstract forms within relatively defined contours of forms close to geometry, as though the artist did not have enough courage yet to free himself from representation at least in such terms.
The motifs of repeating varied arching shapes and fanning out ones with straight lines allowed one think of Futurist or even Vortricist precedents, original ones as well as absorbed by older art school teaching in this country.
Karnatic vocal reverberated in the spacious corridors of the Devagiri Venkataramanaswamy Temple in Banashankari second stage) on a make-shift elevated platform, in front of the beautifully decorated "Utsava Murthy" on Sunday evening.
Inspired by the divine atmosphere Shanmukha Priya and Hari Priya, well known as "Priya Sisters", rose to great heights and cast a spell on a large audience. Priya Sisters chose a few gems from the Karnatic musical firmament and made the ragas shimmer.
The highlight of the programme was the delineation of that dignified composition "Seshachala Nayakam". Alapana and swara vinyasa of kruthi brought out the ragabhava in greater detail. The pace of the kruthi, which was an aesthetic experience, further enhanced the musical stature. Jayamanohari is a simple but not a rare raga! It is Saint Tyagaraja, who popularised this raga through his two compositions - 'yagnadula' and "Nee Bhakthi Bhagyasudha".
Among them Priya Sisters chose "Yagnadula Sukhamanu" and sang impressively and Swara rendered by turns by the Sisters. A composition of Kaivara Narayanappa (in the raga Madhyamavathi) was a pleasant surprise and a revelation of their repertoire. A few meaningful kruthies of Saint Annamacharya - were also welcomed by the connoisseurs. M A Krishnaswamy on violin, Skanda Subramanya on mridanga and B S Purushothama on khanjari responded well throughout the concert.
The programme was held under the aegis of the Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira in memory of Vidushi G V Ranganayaki, who was known as not only a vocalist, but also a veena player and teacher.
The Sai Arts International is conducting "Sai Nrityotsav" on the first day of every month, from last 3 years. Artistes from Karnataka and neighbouring states, and few foreign countries also have performed Kuchipudi, Odissi, Mohiniattam, Kathak, contemporary dances apart from Bharathanatya, under its banner, during the last 36 months.
In the 37th programme on Friday at the Seva Sadana Auditorium there were four programmes - the Bharathanatya and one Odissi or 3 solo performances and one group presentation. Gowri Sagar, currently learning under Satyanarayana Raju, has passed proficiency examination and has performed her 'Arangetram' also in 2003. She opened her programme with "Gajavadana Karuna Sadana" - customarily and the 'Ardhanareeshwaram', which is ideal to please the audience.
'Nagendraharaya' was another popular choice and concluded with a thillana of Dwaraki Krishnaswamy in the raga Valachi. Gowri's performance was neat and visually pleasing.
The second programme was Dashavathara by students of Suparna Venkatesh. Changing the roles in quick succession, they evoked the right atmosphere for the event. With fast movements - moving from one 'Avathar' to another without wasting a moment, they performed with ease and confidence. Shameeka, Kavyashree Nagaraj, Anjana, Swetha Venkatesh, Pushya Pradeep and Sindhu Pradeep - all proved that they have done home work, though some of them need to improve their Abhinaya - especially facial.
Mechanical at times
It was followed by a Odissi dance by Swetha Krishna, currently learning under Sharmila Mukherjee. She began her recital with 'Mangalacharan', which includes a Trikhandi Pranam, where in she salutes to Mother Earth, Guru and connoisseurs. The Pallavi (Rag Megh) was followed by a Astapadi (Jayadeva) from the famous Geetha Govind, in the rag Misra Kamatch. Swetha Krishna tried to perform with assurance, though it was mechanical at times.
Curtains came down on the Festival with a Bharathanatya recital of Smrthi M Harits, disciple of Vasundhara Sampath Kumar. Very selection of her item received appreciation from the audience.
She selected a varna, though she performed in the absence of her teacher. "Anname" - a well knit varna of Subbudu, was performed by Smrthi, with natural grace. She negotiated the rhythms neatly and the expressive part was also slick.
Bharathi Venugopal gave good vocal support, while young Pallavi Manjunath wielded the cymbals and Purushotham and Nataraj Murthy accompanied on mridanga and violin respectively.
The quite vast display of works by Kanaka Murthy, accompanied by a substantial documentary film, was held at the Venkatappa Art Gallery (May 20 to 25) to mark the fact that this senior sculptor from Bangalore became this year's recipient of the Nadoja R M Hadapad Award which had been instituted by the Old Students Association of the Ken School of Art.
The moving spirits behind the award include some distinguished and cutting-edge contemporary artists; hence the traditional character of this exhibition may have surprised someone not familiar with the history of local art education. To remember R M Hadapad here, then, lets one understand the gesture of warm regard.
At a time when the City lacked proper institutions of learning in art, his modest Ken School for decades offered a rudimentary basis, inclusiveness and encouragement. However, one may estimate Hadapad's own aesthetics which bridged conventional, academic skills and diverse experiments with modernism that passionate encouragement combined with prolific, personal perseverance where the boundaries between private and professional areas blurred, eventually established a solid foundation. Naturally perhaps, his erstwhile students now wish to honour others who, similarly to Hadapad, have been contributing to that foundation during a constant, non-glamorous effort.
Kanaka Murthy's region in the art world, on the one hand, refers to a period earlier yet than Hadapad's, one which fully embraced the two once alien strands - colonially acquired realism and rediscovered classical Indian sculpture styles, both needed to coexist when indigenous future was considered.
On the other hand, her continuing to use the same sources on par reflects the more recent governmental policy promoting traditional canons of Karnataka besides the normal requirement of official statuaries. The sculptor who does mostly commissions and possibly is not too keen on self-expression or complex concepts, indeed, embodies the nowadays somewhat forgotten values of the artisanship ethos and its slow and inconspicuous building of a broad environment underscored by her practice of teaching and working on projects jointly with younger artists.
Thus, the dual paths of her oeuvre found a balanced and to an extent complementary contrast as several academic head portraits surrounded by mostly southern, even local divine icons of various periods. The realistic heads and busts which presented a gamut of important personalities from history, politics, culture and religion did follow a rather predictable way with assuring literal description and so instant recognition.
Done in different sizes, they oscillated between the matter-of-fact or somewhat wooden and the more intimate or immediate, especially when aided by deep, evocative facial furrows, the latter qualities becoming evident in the female images. That was enabled probably by the employment of soft, pliable fibre-glass, although it was made to resemble bronze along with its frequent metallic hardness. One of such touching portraits was of Vadiraj, Kanaka Murthy's own guide through the south Indian canons. Rendered mostly in bronze-imitating fibre-glass and in stone, the array of traditional gods and lesser but charming characters also showed a range of both stylistic options and manner of execution.
Predominantly, the images wished to retain maximal faithfulness to the copied originals, this result sometimes achieved bit sometimes diluting over hesitant, familiar ways with modernisation, like smoothing and simplifying of otherwise intricate detail, somewhat expressionistic roughing up of the surface or introducing Madonna looks to a Hindu goddess. A very moving piece belonged to the archaic "Nireekshe" figure whose terracotta body could capture the simultaneous roughness and delicacy of its almost erased features.
If one expected that the interestingly titled exhibition "Eye and the Object" promised a degree of probing, it did not deliver any of that. In fact, what the five young and very young artists from Bengal brought together may not have been loud or technically insufficient, nevertheless, proved to adhere to a few easy and conventional options.
Unassuming and simple among them, but also uninventive, was Pradip Chakraborty with his gracefully realistic, sparing paintings of water birds. D G N Sumana tried for an intriguing combination of near-photographic faces and stylised folksy doll-like motifs falling, however, into design. Whereas decorative patterning governed the abstracted cityscapes of Sasanka Ghosh in a straight way, under Barnali Bhattacharyya's brush it relaxed suggestive of organic processes yet only to artificially mix with cutely mannered human heads.
Although consummate technique-wise, the small bronzes with pleasant-rough rustic types by Prabhat Majhi were really stereotypical and commercially oriented, even their visible inspiration from Dokra art not relieving them of the knick-knack impact.
H N Memorial festival
The Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat conducted the annual "Dr H Narasimhaiah Memorial Cultural Festival," last week.
Padmabhushan Dr H Narasimhaiah was a Gandhian and freedom fighter. He served the Bangalore University as a Vice Chancellor and started the Fine Arts Department (Dance, Drama and Music Department) also.
He was not only a connoisseur of Fine Arts but also a patron. To provide good cultural programmes to the citizens of Bangalore, he founded the "Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat" under the umbrella of the reputed National Education Society in the year 1990.
The Parishat conducts music (Carnatic, Hindustani, Sugama), dance (Bharathanatya, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Mohiniatta etc), Yakshagana, Harikatha and folklore programmes on first and third Fridays of every month. But the lion's share goes to dramas including Kailasam drama festival, Parvathavani, Shankar Nag and Ninasam Thirugata - drama festivals.
The cultural programmes will be held regularly at the Dr H N Kalakshetra, Jayanagara 7th Block. In collaboration with the Ramasudha Charitable Trust, the Parishat was conducting the "Chaitrotsava" every year earlier. From last few years it is being continued as "Dr H Narasimhaiah Memorial Cultural Festival". Padmabhushan Dr H Narasimhaiah served the Parishat as its first President and now Dr A H Rama Rao is guiding as the President. It has conducted 768 programmes so far and the H N Kalakshetra is ready for renovation to convert it into a multipurpose state-of-the-art theatre.
Drama, dance (Bharath-anatya) and music (vocal, veena and sugama sangeetha) programmes were held in this year's Dr H N Memorial Cultural Festival, last week.
Dr Suma Sudhindra, who gave a veena recital here on Thursday, is an internationally acclaimed artiste, and recipient of 'Ganakalashree' title from the Karnataka Ganakala Parishat. Suma's veena took off on a vibrant note with evocative Kruthies.
Bindumalini, which belongs to Chakravaaka raga family, is a pleasing raga. Suma chose 'Entha Muddo', the popular composition in Bindumalini raga.
While 'Jalandhara' was in 'Drutha Kaala' the 'Akhilandeswari' was in a majestic 'vilamba kaala', which was played with good feeling.
After a brisk 'Ninuvina' she chose the Kharaharapriya, the ever popular choice of musicians.
It was dignified in its portrayal and the 'thana' was pleasing and the kriti "Prakka Nilabadi" anchored well.
She concluded with a evocative devaranama 'Baro Krishnaiah'. N N Ganesh Kumar, K U Jayachandra Rao and Phanindra Bhaskar gave good support on violin, mridanga and ghata, respectively.
Well established vocalist Shankar Shanbaug presented lyrics of Purandara Dasa, Dr D V Gundappa, Dr H S Venkatesh Murthy, Allama Prabhu, Shishunal Sharief, Kavyananda and Dr D R Bendre, in a fitting manner. 'Vanasumadollenna Jeevanavu' - is a meaningful lyric of Dr Gundappa and he also sang few ugabogas of Haridasas like - Hangisi Hangisi, Mana Shuddi Illadavage.
He presented few compositions tuned by himself, instead of the established tunes, like 'Dasana madiko enna'. The 'Bhoomi Ninnadalla' attracted with deep meaning and 'Tharavalla Tegi Thamboori' is a well known pada. With his rich voice, he traversed upto thara panchama easily and with assurance, while instrumentalists Sateesh Kolli (harmonium), Gurumurthy Vaidya (tabla) and Ashish Nayak (special effect) - accompanied with good understanding. Lokada Kannige, Aarara Vanchisutha, Nee hinga noda beda, Shravana Bantu - were other notable lyrics Shankar Shanbhag sang.
Prof Nagamani Srinath, who performed on Saturday evening in the H N Festival, is known in the music field as a vocalist, teacher and composer. In her vocal 'Shiva Shiva Enarada,' the graceful melody was marked for its depth. Though the swara for 'Kripaya Palaya' was brief, it was interesting. The 'Venkata Shaila Vihara' was delightful.
She elaborated 'Sada Nee Padame' proportionately and the swara round 'Ma and Ri' - was quiet interesting. It was a matured vocal testifying to a very professional high standard. N N Ganesh Kumar on violin, Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma on mridanga and Narayana Murthy on ghata - accompanied competently.
Mysore V Subramanya
Document and evocation
The series of video films and photographic prints presented by Bhavani G S at the Venkatappa Art Gallery (May 26 to 30) revolved around her "Journey with the River Cauvery", the vast theme that has been preoccupying the artist for the past few years.
Bhavani who not so long ago started out as a painter now among other projects does installations which using organic materials in their original surroundings create as though steered as well as rediscovered natural equivalents of paintings and sculptures. The new works bases on and includes the first part of the Cauvery exploration from its source in Coorg and through Karnataka, while extending it further onto the river's course in Tamil Nadu until the delta.
The artist writes about her endeavour as a very personal one during which she wished to find and probe her urban self in the sacred as well as profane landscapes of the Cauvery, pristine as well as industrial, along with their nourishing and destructive aspects. She meant also to relate the generative force and the life flow embodied in the river to the feminine experience. All the elements of the intended meaning could, indeed, be recognised in these art works, although not alwa ys in terms of sufficiently evocative sensations, since there seemed to be an unresolved relationship there between the role, character and potential of documentation and of simple expressiveness or more complex positioning unexpected angles of visually suggested thought.
The pieces are not performance images, because the project, which had the artist progressing with the river photographing the views and accompanied by a camera-person, wished to only capture her empathic presence and sensitive, responsive movement there. Thus, what she saw and how she saw it predominates in the videos and photographs, even if that happens mostly through a quite literal kind of description that infrequently alternates with evocative passages.
The main film keeps shifting from pleasant and atmospheric, if not entirely original, sceneries, to rather pedestrian ritual temple ceremonies, stirring close-ups of the current, vegetation and animals to the artist's figure, to agricultural fields, villagers at work and festival occasions, to cities, highway traffic, dams, bridges, enmeshments of pipes in factories and heaps of trash and sand stretches. Documentation with verbal commentary is not relieved by the mere formalism of the screen divided into four or more simultaneous different vistas.
On occasion, yet, the spectator was moved by the intrinsic, art-like beauty of some details, for instance the holy tank with flowers appearing to be framed as if a painted canvas. Some such moments of aesthetic and intuitive potential became the foci of short individual videos, in particular the circling along with the thousand pillars at Srirangam and the tying of water grass blades at a confluence. The frequent motif of man-made structures reflected in the water and of the artist's shadow there could be appreciated as conductive towards the feel of everything being immersed in the river as another side or ethos of it.
The prints included in the show aimed at a similar effect thanks to single attention on the same or related themes. Again one liked the instances consciously enhanced the striking aesthetic qualities that were already evident in the actual scenes, be it the powerful geometric pattern in a road, the animated stances of serpent stones or the violent wounds in riverside boulders. Although one understands the importance of involving oneself and others in experiencing normal life as art or at least art-like, for that to come through heightened sensation should prevail over statements.
"A Piece of Heaven", the just concluded exhibition of paintings by Tarun Cherian (Alliance Francaise, June 3 to 10), was dedicated to the spiritual joy the artist finds in celebrating his faith in god as manifested in luminous forces and intangible rhythms and transformations that fill immediate as well as cosmic spaces and matter.
The simplicity of his heart perhaps had to be reciprocated by the certain naivety of composing and brushing. Although fortunately not falling into the trap of literally symbolic representation, that is so frequent in such cases and mostly involves figural motifs, his oils on canvas nonetheless reach out for the surety of design.
Anchored in the notion of radiance emerging from one point and spreading centripetally, Cherian's divine rays dominate his imagery which, even when on the face of it abstract, adheres to a rather repetitive gamut of patterns which besides fanning out, evolve flat curtains of short, blurred pulses or similar fields from within stirred into wave trajectories. Not loud, the idiom, relying on white-impregnated yellows and a spattering of slightly shadowy browns, remains pleasantly vague.
Document and homage
M Shanthamani's work has always been empathic to the physicality of the environment and the human condition, its rawness revealing both vulnerability or dying and resilience or rebirth.
Her search along with some persistent motifs, like natural materials, charred bones and hand casts, peaked in the recent exhibition "Reflections" whose multimedia images presented the artist's three-month long journey on the Ganga (Cinnamon, June 8 to 15).
The venture of "witnessing" the powerful flow which sustains much of the country geographically along with its culture and psyche, combined learning about and documenting the river and the daily life around it with a personal response, where a frank but warm contact with people alternated with often performative art pieces, those appearing simultaneously as gestures of ritual offering.
Throughout, one recognised the desire to merge with the element considered to reveal the sacredness of the profane. One admired the overwhelmingly ambitious and sincere project especially that its display emphasised the diverse, sometimes blending strands of the process and progression.
As valid as the approach was, its actual realisation, however, oscillated between the evocatively spectacular and the merely descriptive or informative. The whole show led to its core and culmination in the shape of an immense human spine on the floor that arched with a painful fluidity, indeed the "Back-Bone" of India.
Although the small charcoal modules may have been to regular and surface-bound, from afar the impact was forceful, disturbing and deeply touching. The visitor felt its riverine stir first facing it foreshortened and moving along its course to find a visually and feeling-wise complementary video where the changing currents of the river surface combined in a mutual response with masses of flower garlands indeed in some "Wind-Unwind."
The pervasiveness of grandeur and intimacy continued over a reverse proportion in the stream of "Hand-Cast" comprising of six videos on minute, boxed monitors holding cameo encounters with some extraordinarily ordinary people whose livelihood depends on the changing condition of the river accompanied by their three-dimensional hand casts in cotton rag pulp and Ganga sand. Here too, certain aspects of the work had to be indicated verbally for clarity, but the roughly sensitive proximity of the entire installation exerted its own effect very well.
The ration between self-expressiveness and the need to explain increased in the two series of larger photographic prints taken during Shanthamani's live projects, in one of which she offered herself to the Ganga as "Body Float", a triple corporeal cast in flowers, camphor and ash to gradually disintegrate and become one with the water, while in the other she inflamed the camphor on vast footprints to make them "Burning Feet" on the river marking a miraculous sort of human presence in it as well as its destructive impact.
In both cases one could attune oneself to the more blended, decaying stages rather than the slightly obvious, lucid ones. If the detailed explanations in writing that recurred all along were quite unnecessary, since the works as such exuded their basic content, the couple of photographic cycles, strangely called installations, turned veritably obvious in their documentary-didactic character.
Instead of illustrating the story about "Bricks" being manufactured by desperate farmers who now make the land infertile or coming close to religiosity while capturing the stances of people during the "Argya" ritual, the artist should have perhaps based on the broader expressiveness of such wonderful shots as one with labourers kneading soil as though its was a body or a number of takes with worshippers' backs against the darkly luminous, rippling water.
"A Tribute to K K Hebbar", the exhibition (CKP, June 25 to 27) which was part of the larger Hebbar festival organised by Art Mantram and The K K Hebbar Art Foundation, besides a delectable, as always, gamut of his drawings, housed a fair number of works, almost all of them paintings, that together were set out to indeed pay homage to the much loved predecessor whose birth centenary happens this year.
However well-meant and adequate in stressing the kind of aesthetic and thematic fields associated with Hebbar's modernist-indigenist-abstract sources, the selection looked at times more old-fashioned than his own oeuvre. The senior artists, maybe in accordance with this profile, represented to a significant degree officially acceptable names.
Starting rightly with Hebbar's daughter Rekha Rao's child portrait and an abstraction, the show ranged from S G Vasudev's new take on the tree of life to the virtually same styles of Khande Rao, Vijay Sindhur, M B Patil or Srikant Shetty, the only relief being Chandranath Acharya's consummate marriage of realism and cartooning.
Sri Rama Lalithakala Mandira presented a vocal concert on Saturday evening, by G Ravi Kiran.
Ravi Kiran, after good foundation from senior artistes is continuing his training now with T M Krishna, the popular vocalist. Bhairavi, the majestic raga, was planned as a major item of the concert. Bhairavi, is a dignified rakti raga, in which all the three of trinities have composed compositions. It is a favourite raga of both musicians and connoisseurs and chosen for elaboration frequently.
The alap of Bhairavi was yet another instance of vocalist's mood and talent. The choice of "Jananee Mamavameye", brought out the entreating mood of both the raga and the lyrics. In this beautifully worded composition, Swathi Tirunal says - "Oh Devi! Inspire me by residing on my tongue, always." Lively swara kalpana added further validity to Ravi Kiran's musical acumen. Dikshitar's "Sadachaleswaram Bhavayeham" in Bhupala was also proof of his good repertoire.
The alap of Kuntalavarali came as a whiff of fresh air. Though conservatives and old timers expect only Ghana ragas (Kalyani, Shankarabharana, Bhairavi, Todi, etc) for Pallavi, talented young artistes these days also try other ragas for Pallavi. Kuntalavarali is a 'Vakra audava raga'.
It is a rakti raga and pleasing raga too. It was popularized through the compositions of Tyagaraja and Swati Tirunal's 'Bhogindra Shayinam' is also a well known krithi in this raga. The Tisra Triputa Pallavi (Manini Manohara Marajanaka Shubhacharitha) was followed by a brief ragamalika swara in Varali, Shahana and Gowla. It was a pleasant thing that he chose a Jawadi also. "Vagaladi Bodhana" was evocative and an infrequent Devaranama "Aparadhi Nanalla" was also rendered with good feeling. Nalina Mohan on violin, Mela Kaveri Balaji on mridanga and Guru Prasanna on Khanjari - gave competent support on their respective instruments.
Kamala Murthy, who gave a vocal concert under the auspices of the Rajamahal Vilas Sangeeth Sabha last week, is a disciple of R A Ramamani, of Karnatak College of Percussion. A post graduate in Computer Science, Kamala Murthy has passed proficiency examination in music and is one of the many talented young musicians waiting in the wings for public accolade of her own, though she has figured in some music programmes.
When the concert reached its peak, Kamala Murthy crowned the concert with a detailed alapana of Kalyani. It was followed by an excellent Keerthane of Saint Tyagaraja. In the "Yethavunara Nilakada Neeku" Tyagaraja has praised 'Bhagawad swarupa' and philosophy. Kamala seemed a little hesitant as she began with the swara prasthara and fell short of expectation. But Kharaharapriya was better and she gradually sang with confidence.
The well known composition "Rama Nee Samana" was rendered with customary abandon. Other compositions Parwathi Kumaram, Ramanama Janma Rakshaka Mantra, Panchashakthi Swarupini - were pleasing without over doing anything.
A ugabhoga (Jagava Suthihadella Ninna Maaye) was followed by an old Devaranama "Na Ninna Dhyanadoliralu". The concert gave glimpses of her good training and with more concert experience, she can climb the ladder of success.
Another three young instrumentalists - C S Usha on violin, H S Narasimha Prasad on mrudanga and R Sathyakumar on Ghata - suited the need of the occasion.
Sangeetha, who gave a Mohiniattam dance recital for the Every Friday Cultural Evening Programme, has practiced all the three forms - Bharathanatya, Mohiniattam and Kathakali, by different gurus and is continuing her training under Kalamandalam Hymavathy, Retired Professor and Department Head for Mohiniattam, Kerala Kalamandalam.
Sangeetha opened her current recital with 'Sharanu Siddivinayaka' in the raga Sourashtra. Right from the beginning she performed with ease and assurance. The Thodi varna 'Danigaamajendra' of Swathi Thirunal was proof of her good training and practice. The lace bordered white sari looked elegant in its characteristic draping and the customary 'Kondai', enhancing the visual appeal brought traditional flavour.
Her Abhinaya in both Pada (Swathi Tirunal) and Jawadi (Idene Sakhi) was restrained and subdued to an optimum aesthetic point. She also performed a composition of Dikshithar 'Kanjadalaya Thakshee', neatly. The concluding 'Omana Thingal' (Kuranji) is a popular lullaby. To make her performance much more impactful Sangeetha has to perform with more graceful movements, enhancing the poetic charm of the diction, and no doubt she is capable of doing it.
Throughout the recital high pitched vocal music of Marakathavalli caught the attention of the audience, gathered in small number. Lakshmi Thangavelu (Natuvanga), Thangavelu on Mridanga, Achutha Anantha Maran on Edakka and Bhuvaneswari on violin - supported well.
A rising star
Ananya presented two vocal concerts last week as part of the 'Nirantara' (series for young musicians) series. Vivek Sadashivam hails from a musicians' family of repute, who claims to be the direct 'Shishya Parampara' of Muthuswamy Dikshitar. Starting his primary lessons from his grand father A. Anantharaman Iyer and aunt A. Champakavalli (Calcutta), Vivek continued with his father - vocalist A. Sadasivam and mother - Revathi Sadasivam, a Veena player.
Now he is receiving advanced music training under R.N. Tyagarajan, of "Rudrapattana Brothers" fame. A. 'B.Tech' graduate Vivek, has won many prizes, including first prize from All India Radio.
In the current concert Vivek Sadashivam presented a number of fine compositions in evocative ragas. But the climax of the evening's programme was Raga Thana and Pallavi. He gave a spacious alapana of Shanmukhapriya touching the pivotal swaras gently. It was followed by a brisk thana.
The pallavi (Gana Lola Karunala) set to Adi Thala, evoked a musical atmosphere. After a brisk 'Purahara nandana' in Hamir Kalyani, he chose 'Enduku Peddala'. Before that he prefaced with a detailed alapana of Shankarabharana.
Except for a few slips, he gave a neat portrayal of the raga. Earlier he gave a spacious exposition of Amrithavarshini, unfolding a wide canvas of the raga. He also sang 'Mayamma' with good feeling. Violinist Prema Vivek and mridangist B.S. Prasanth shared the honours with the vocalist.
With a rich resonant voice and impassioned urge in expression Vivek Sadashiivam pleased the gathering and his career is worth watching.
Mysore V Subramanya
Attuned within and without
V-3 are a group of friends who having shared their educational beginnings at Bangalore's Ken School of Art some two decades ago still like to exhibit together.
'In Course of Time', the title of their venture at the CKP (July 10 to 16), is explained simply as a display of concerns explored over the years, while the different foci and aesthetics connect at the level of unpretentious sincerity and a modest but cultured exploration sensitive to the inner and the external world.
The title becomes more specific with regard to the most accomplished here work of Viswanath B R who aims at grasping the layers of the past in the present. Perhaps naturally for a cinematographer and filmmaker, he bases on photography.
The cycle of regular, large prints with old-fashioned city buildings and iron grills or winding stairways appears to simultaneously analyse and subtly merge interior and exterior structures and dark illumination, solidity and atmosphere, stability and motion, vulnerability and strength, fragmentation and wholeness, decay and persistence.
In the two other series, he lets the choice of a 19th century photographic technique which involves partial painting effects turn into a personal gesture of respect and affection towards the Baiga tribal people, as the very faint sepia hues on modern-day shots from Adivasi environs endow those with a feel of an archaic life continuing today with its roughness and deprivation as well as its inner beauty and innocence.
If one admires the self-expressive simplicity of the single images, the mounted panel with a repeated-varied shot may be somewhat overdone, although one can agree with the artist perceiving Baiga homes as the true temples of modern India rather than Nehruvian power plants. Veera Raghavan's delving into an ambiguous intersection of the unbounded imagination and a restrictive practical reality is a little artificially linked by him with the titular time factor since their acting impacts time and space.
The spectator can appreciate his smallish drawings where a dry, utterly sparing brush just touches highly abstracted residues of human presence, behaviour and movement amid air and things possibly organic.
There is a balanced permeability of a sensitively intimate and a cool-distanced approach in these. Such qualities being nicely sustained in the surface-depth penetration of the vaster acrylic on canvas, the more literal tree depictions in drawing and the primarily formalistic linear play of light on photographs tend to disappoint.
The statement of Vijay I Guledagudd, too, connects a bit by force the contradictions between the limitlessness of the mind and the never sure conditions of the actual world to the passage of time.
His water colours on paper strive towards a tactile approximation of the state of uncertainty among recurring and changing contradictions and life cycles that relay on them.
Palms, feet and shadows reaching out, coming close to yet remaining remote recur in his paintings that oscillate from the fairly descriptive to the loosened or the schematic. These unassuming images can be quietly suggestive if the artist refrains from the design temptation.
Another danger comes with the excessive memory of the dated Baroda expressionist strain that emerges in the larger, multi-figural compositions. The translation of the water colour theme onto a three-dimensional, translucent cylinder with painted shapes may also be merely formalist.
At first glance, the works of Kevin Todd at 1Shanthiroad Studio/Gallery (June 29 to July 13) surprised the visitor, maybe a little uncomfortably, by their alluding design character.
The varied arrangements of circular shapes, background rectangles and precise lines cutting across along with their attractive, often luminous colours made one associate the compositions with a popular kind of computer graphics ready for amateur indulgency.
Only after a while, one noticed that the very similar but ever differing images always paired a work painted on wood with another of the same size being a digital print on aluminium. The virtually perfect precision of both let the viewer wonder about the interdependence between the hand-brushed and drawn version and the technological one.
Left to one's own guesses, the spectator may not have ventured to the kind of questioning that Todd explained in his note. The Irish artist, designer, scholar and academic teacher living in Australia, he examines 'The Nature of (In) Perfection' locating ancient mystery and metaphysics in the supposedly scientific digital medium, recognising older, ideas and substances in the new ones, aesthetic beauty undermining rationality.
Although the viewer can read this content eventually, the works still remain more illustrative of Todd's explanation than self-evocatory.
Lively percussion ensemble
Curtains came down on this year's "Thaalavadyotsava" with a special percussion ensemble by Laya Taranga. Combining well with Indian Traditional instruments (mridanga and ghata), Jazz drums and Hand Percussion instruments, the group created a different music world.
Western parts in Karnatic instruments, Hindustani bols in Latin percussion instruments, Konakol etc. of Karnatic music - followed by Mohara-mukthaya.
A precise and interesting 'Thani' using Metronom - all set to Adi Thala. It was the first effort of the young percussionists who performed well, though loud at times.
Jayachandra Rao on mridanga, Ullur Giridhar Udupa on ghata, Arun Kumar on Jazz drums and Pramath Kiran on Hand percussions - performed with good understanding to make it a lively ensemble.
In the valedictory function of the Percussive Arts Centre, Thiruva-nanthapuram V. Surendran was conferred with 'Mridangakala Shiromani' title, Thiruchi J. Venkataraman with 'Layakala Nipuna', Seethalakshmi Venkateshan with 'Sangeetha Kalabhigna', M. Gururaj with 'Layakala Prathibhamani' and Mysore Radesh was conferred with CMANA Endowment Prize.
Another opportunity has come to connoisseurs to savour different types of cultural programmes, through the Aradhana celebrations of Sri Raghavendra Swamy. A number of religious and cultural organizations have organized religious and cultural programmes in different parts of Bangalore. One such organization Sri Raghavendra Seva Samithi, Sudhindra Nagara (Malleswaram), has arranged a 13 day festival with Music (vocal, veena, dasa vani), discourse and bhajan, which will conclude on 6th of August.
Pandith Gulbarga Gururaja Das, who gave a "Dasavani" recital on Friday, is a disciple of Krishna Das Murugodu, veteran vidwan and Haridasa. Gururaja Das has performed in not only Karnataka but also in Maharashtra, Andhra and Tamil Nadu and has been honoured by many organizations.
Gururaja Das in his Dasavani programme presented in Hindustani style, Kannada Devaranamas of different Haridasas. The customary invocatory piece gave him a head start. He chose several padas of lesser known Haridasas and made the programme a very useful one. For instant 'Raghavendra Gururayarendira Aradhisiro' of Dore Shreesha Vittala (in raga Saranga) and 'Bho Yathivarendra' of Ananthadreesha (based on Mand). Blending his voice with sruti and rendition he sang 'Baro Raghavendra Baro Devara Nidhiye' of Jaganatha Dasaru. While 'Raghavendra Teertha Bodhisu Bhagawatada Artha' in Desh of Indiresha was pleasing. The other one by Shyama Sundara Dasaru "Pavamana Pidi Enna Kaiya" was rendered in the raga Bheempalas.
He presented compositions of Mohana Dasaru, Venkatavittala and few others, without hassles to make an impact. With his rich voice, traversing in all the 3 octaves with ease, his music was equally haunting for its lyrical appeal. Krishnamurthy on Harmonium, Gopalakrishnachar on Thabala, Raghothama on Dolak and Sudhanva on Thala - gave lively support.
Mysore V Subramanya
Between naivety and complexity
The "Green Grey" exhibition presented the results of this year's Khoj-supported Karnataka-Karnataka project at the Bengaluru Artist Residency One (July 20 to 25).
Its title alluded to the interaction between rural-based, conventionally educated artists and urban ones along with the local, also more contemporary artistic environment during their one and a half months stay at the Bar1 studios.
Coming as another way to stimulate and open up young imaginations, the show, quite naturally, suggested the raw beginnings of possible future developments rather than having already achieved a new maturity.
For the two participants from the interior, this indeed, brought changes both in the subject-matter following their response to the city and to a lesser or greater degree, accordingly in the aesthetic language.
Their forte was unpretentious sincerity and frankness, even if sometimes naïve obviousness limited their effectiveness. Roopa D.G. of Chickmangalur seemed hesitant to break away from the modest traditionalism of easel painting, nevertheless, basing on it she ventured into a personal response to the new experience.
Still mixing stylisation with timid distortion, descriptive outlining with textured colour filling, frontal flatness with planar inserts, she somewhat literally told, on the one hand, about flowering plants as personalities and, on the other, about the invasive city traffic and its cacophony.
An equally humble gesture came from her carving pleasant images on wedding ceremony gift-coconuts.
Whereas a majority repeated facile models, even when displayed in an interesting manner, like sculptures, a few denser, more amorphous ones showed real promise. With much enthusiastic freedom, Radhika Ullur of Kundapura stopped after one painting on canvas which denoted rather than evoked a dizzy discomfort of a café, and gave in to her horror of Bangalore's trash.
Although a little messy and too simple in their directness, the sculptural installations and framed collages tried an adequate trajectory by starting at the source and assembling globes and human figures stuffed by and overflowing with plastic refuse.
The onlooker may not have instantly identified the Superhero-Varaha as the saviour of the planet from the demonic humanity of nature's murderers, but could, indeed, empathise with the message.
Varsha Deshikar educated and living in Bangalore became a finely complementary co-exhibitor and, one may assume, an interactive co-resident, her contemporary works being concept-oriented and complex yet anchored in rudimentary, immediate experiences from normal reality as they probe multiple layers that add to the singular meaning of words and ideas while testing how we arrive at them, how we perceive them and ourselves through the same.
The wonderful thing is that, forcing one to face the apparent clarity of 'now' as a gradually blinking sign and a signboard-like encyclopaedic definition of 'individual', she goads one to viscerally recognise and then become aware of the not quite conscious contradictions behind the surface which reveal the complexity that has shaped such notions.
City audiences may recall periodically watching exhibitions of Samir Mondal, a Bengali painter who already long ago moved from Bangalore to Bombay. Although always revolving around a broadly new theme, while often the human figure occupies the central place, and on the face of it slightly different than before, his style and interests nonetheless, have hardly changed.
This is emphasised by his current show at Sumukha (July 14 to August 4) which, titled "Wishes" in connection with the artist's sixtieth birthday, sets out to simultaneously celebrate his personal occasion, the people whom he addresses and his art besides suggesting a joyous affirmation of life's simple pleasures.
The choice of flowers suits all the references here assuring that the images executed with much skill, facility and culture but without falling into the trap of sentimentality play in the middle ground of comfortable nicety. And so, Mondal fully indulges in the relish of making water colours spread on and into the textured paper interacting with it, goading the pigments to oscillate between opacity, even shadow and delicate, luminous translucency, between saturation and mistiness or elusive bleeding, between the clearly described detail and its progressing abstraction, between the even surface and pronounced plasticity, between pure paint and brushed lettering.
While he strives to hint at intense, gentle or complex situations and emotions together with their dynamism in the images of diverse bright blossoms among colours, spaces and planes, there arises some feel of a borderline of subtlety and sensuality. The spectator has to respect the artist for not pretending to be reaching out for more than he is capable of or even aiming at. The same approach, yet, cannot prevent its inherent self-constraint, and eventually it may be difficult to brush away the persistent association with birthday card pictures that accompanies the viewing impression.
The Keshava Samskruthi Sabha is catering to the cultural needs of the ISRO Layout residents through dance and music programmes, from last 11 years. On the occasion of its 11th anniversary, a two-day cultural programme was organised last week.
Senior danseuse Leela Ramanathan was felicitated with the title 'Keshava Kalaratn
a' and veteran musician Belakavadi Rangaswamy Iyengar (90), was honoured with the title.
The last programme of the festival was a vocal recital by Prof Mysore Nagamani Srinath. While R. Chandrika gave the vocal support, young B Vittalrangan, senior A V Anand and M Gururaj accompanied on violin, mridanga and morching respectively.
A brisk 'Bhuvinidasudane' gave Nagamani a bright start and the next 'Dayarani Dayarani' was also lively. Both were rendered with brief swara. It was followed by 'O Jagadamba', a self composed composition with chitteswara in the raga Hindola. Its melodic grace was enhanced by several lively phrases.
Ragalapana was embellished by several enlivening sangathies for 'Abhimaanato' revealing her depth of technique and imagination. The concluding devaranama 'Rogaharane Kripakarane' was also pleasing.
Members of the Ganasudha Academy gave a Sugama Sangeetha programme at the Dr H N Kalakshetra, Jayanagar, under the auspices of the Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat. It was directed by S Somasundaram, recipient of Karnataka Sangeetha Nritya Academy award.
They opened the programme with a divine song of D R Bendre 'Jayadeva Sri Ganapathiraya' impressively and continued with 'Prakruthiya Guru' of Dr Siddaiah Puranik. Kannada Devaranama 'Devaki Nandana Hari Vasudeva' with the prelude of a Uga Bhoga 'Malagi Paadalu' was also pleasing. 'Left Right Left' of Dr P T Narasimhachar, is an unusual Kannada lyric. They also sang few folk songs like - 'Malleyappa Maleraya,' 'Thavaru maneya jyothi' - apart from vachanas ('Neerige Naidile Shringara').
Nijaguna Shiva Yogi's 'Nodalagade Deva' - is a welcome addition to the concert repertoire. They sang in unison and they deserve more encouragement. Pradeep on harmonium, H B Jayaram on keyboard, M C Srinivas on tabla and Shashidhar on rhythm pad - accompanied with good understanding.
Meena Murthy, who gave a veena recital for the Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mission, is a disciple of R K Suryanarayana and has completed her vidwath exam and is continuing her practice under D Balakrishna.
Opening with 'Evaribodha,' the familiar varna, she saluted to invocatory God through 'Siddi Vinayakam.' Though one felt that it was slow than necessary, the swara at once acquired a special delight. 'Nagumomu' is always a favourite of listeners. She played a number of devotionals like 'Karedare Barabarade,' 'Hari Sarvothama' (Kamalesha Vittala), 'Tunga Teera Viharam,' etc. which suited the occasion. A Naguma (Keervani) of Venkatagiriyappa, was a pleasant addition.
The concert was no doubt proof of her growing confidence, and with some more higher training and stage experience, can reach great heights.
The concluding Thillana (Shivaranjini) and devaranamas ('Thamburi Meetidava' and 'Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma') - were also rendered with good feeling. B N Ramesh and Nataraj - accompanied on mridanga and ghata respectively.
Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mission conducted the Aradhana of Raghavendra Swamy with discourse, religious rituals and music (vocal, veena, flute) concerts at its premises, at Indiranagar.
Complexity in the rudimentary
The two latest exhibitions at 1, Shanthi Road Studio/Gallery, within their clear difference, shared a general approach both to reality and to art-making that relies on reaching out for subtle, complex layers of meaning and form hidden in consciously chosen minimalist means and aims.
Particularly interesting, thanks to its sincerity, relevance to the contemporary circumstances and fair originality, was the work of Chennai's Sunil Kumar Sree who spent a residency for young artists here.
His "Under the Skin" display (July 29 to August 1) at first impressed with its flair and intense workmanship, but also mystified as to the message.
This, nonetheless, eventually proved to reflect Sree's own bewilderment, even pessimism, about his and broader human identity or prospects around. The clue to this conclusion lay in the series of tiny photographs with porous, hairy, scarred and blemished skin close-ups of his body that let one intuit an amount of surprise and assertive frankness as well as disgust with self-limitations which only enhance the restrictions and duress from external forces, thus merging the personal and societal levels.
The quite spectacular yet carefully crafted main piece belonged to "shape, unshape, shape" which consisted of a large, tilted Rubik's cube-like object consisting of densely, patiently and slowly hatched segments inclusive of photographed skin fragments. The traces of the hand's progress over time added to the sense of focussed examination of perhaps endless possibilities, changed and fittings.
As the cube spilled a few crushed paper cups, the complementary, floor part of the work was a not so firm box filled with used paper cups, the similar markings suggesting both constant, genuine effort and its futility, uncertainty or misuse. So maybe, the skin that marks us; defines but also cancels our character and potential becomes the body, a receptacle that holds hope and hopelessness.
Without the artist's concrete explanation as to his intent, one wondered whether to connect the image with caste and racial issues based on skin colour or with the capacity of renewal. Rather than trying to understand the show literally, one appreciated its comparatively universal evocation with regard to the so drastic in the country condition of being determined and retrained, even doomed, from outside while patiently acting against it and finding oneself.
The following event was a solo exhibition by Suryaprakash Gowda. This local artist who during his studies in Baroda seems to have been impacted for life by the oeuvre of Nasreen Mohamedi now paid homage to the source of his inspiration.
Never even pretending to depart far from the starting point, Gowda, openly depends on a few basic constituents of Mohamedi's art and strives to probe them from within by concentrating on a particular motif or aspect - singled out sparingly or, more often, by examining a multitude of variants allowed by the same.
He, almost literally, brings back her minimalist brushed strokes and sharp lines which mediate between abstraction and an intimate mark, between cool precision and calm forces dormant beyond the visible world, from under the indifferent unearthing subtlety and tender, nearly spiritual attuning, while also delving into the essence and nuances of the aesthetic language.
And so, his arches of wide, drying wash evoke the hand's and heart's gesture touching on the breath of undulating landscape. Flatness is handled to contain or become its own plastic, space-inducing shadow. Stability turns into motion. Black appears to be merely a form of white and vice versa, as a stain's opacity is not too alien from a line's near-negativity.
The onlooker may prefer the more restrained but thoughtfully considered pieces in comparison with the slightly design-resembling, multi-part compositions, especially if those incorporate the inherently decorative, if not muted, gold pigment.
"Sands of Time", Karttika Goel's painting display at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath (July 17 to 22), was dedicated to various manifestations of human togetherness with nature.
The artist saw this communion as a result of spiritual striving for serenity as well as of love between man and woman which reflects divine love. Surely sincere, it was fleshed out by somewhat naively literal canvases where Buddha's sculptural face and highly stylised mortal heads partly emerged from and sunk back into the intricate trajectories of plants.
If one could appreciate the throbbing energy of the foliage and flowers whose energetically meandering trajectories, precisely within their surface-binding, evoked a simultaneous feel of volume-endowed things immersed in a tactile space, the imagery on the whole tended too much towards an ornate design and the facial contours were rather weak in their vague conventionality.
Defiance and reflection
"Monkey Gate" at Bar1 (August 18 to 20) offered another peek into the ongoing effort of this informal artists' initiative to stimulate and sustain a creative community environment among young artists interacting between themselves and with normal life inclusive of its own experiences, issues and materials where contemporary methods and out-of-the-box thinking can contribute to free expression and questioning.
Actually, the exhibition which focussed precisely on that condition of unruly insightfulness that underlies serious art-making was triggered accidentally by reality - the presence of monkeys at the Chitra Kala Parishat and the later death of one impaled on the gate that separates the college there.
Suresh Kumar G. who calls himself a 'performing facilitator,' a role perhaps between a curator and a participant by motivating others, very ably gathered together and extended the results of his last year's workshop with CKP students which related to the animals and of their recent Bar1 residency which happened after the monkey's fatality.
Although the show had some interesting and surprisingly mature works, besides many partly good but partly chaotic, obvious or naïve ones, while its display too oscillated from visually fleshed out thematic links to chance encounters and crowded messiness, it should not be judged for quality like a regular gallery event.
Its value lies in the sincerity with which the young people could respond to the actual as revealing both their own predicament with its societal restrictions as well as aspirations and some of the nature of the world around, on the one hand.
On the other, its value comes with the somewhat guided but simultaneously spontaneous opening up of sensitivity, new insight and probing as well as ways of communicating it all.
Occasionally in fact, the onlooker, allowed to compare the latest to the earlier pieces, could locate quite amazing formal improvements enabled, maybe without even the artists' noticing them, by that sheer opening up.
A series of installations at the entrance by Pooja H G and Vibha Kulkarni compared the merry, inquisitive restlessness of the artist's mind and the limitations imposed by others to that of the monkey's, simple inventiveness, as in the mirror inclusive of the monkey and the viewer, coinciding with literalness and nicely appropriated current ruses, as in the stirring coloured water sound. Their playfully affirmative questioning turned into the mock gravity of a criminal investigation document by Joshua Howard Rosario whose apparently indifferent, objective character set off both absurd humour and sad reflections to culminate in an ingenious use of the terrace window for an evocation of imprisoned creativity.
The contributions by Akshaya Krishna and Samir Paul on the edge of two and three dimensions together formed an almost monument-like whole about monkeys and bananas. While video recordings of Rashmi Muniappa and Suresh Kumar brought back traces of the earlier and new performances by Aamier Tian that tested the monkey connection and visualised human entrapment, Pooja Sharma mischievously confronted the artificial elegance of her eating an apple with cutlery and messily enjoying it the natural way.
A broader kind of musing was awakened also in the remaining two participants. Vineesh Amin conjured a sun-drenched but gated environment with a video about the futility of patience plus a sharp-witted and critical still humorously warm-hearted wall piece with wall drawings, written story and free-hanging tiny toy animals dealing with our predatory instincts. One appreciated too the effectiveness of the direct simplicity in Aruna Manjunath's washing-line cum darkroom collection of photographs with all sorts of insignificant creatures in death, their closeness generating responses tender enough to accept dying as part of living.
The recent painting exhibition of K V Shankar at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath was titled "Contemporary Contemplation of Moving Images," whereas one's impression went to the contrary.
As much as one empathises with the artist's desire to celebrate the vitality of the simple joys of the traditional village, one wishes that he found a better manner to doing the same.
Although Shankar has avoided now pretentious stylisations, he employs realism not for its potential to grasp at the genuine but infuses it with a facile multi-hued brightness and excessive cheerfulness while composing his canvases according to very conventional paradigms.
Thus, there is nothing contemporary in these scenes with happy mothers, turbaned youths and music making, surface directness coming through instead of contemplation while the representations range from normal activities to such static ones.
The good outcome of the limitation to realistic depiction is the frequent truth of the imagery in comparison with the actual, when it is not prettified, even if sometimes awkward areas become evident.
Successful Nitya Nritya
Nitya Nritya, the annual dance festival was held last week, under the aegis of the Nupura, the premier dance school of Bangalore. This year also it attracted with lecture and demonstrations, apart from dance recitals by both young and senior artistes.
Urmila Sathyanarayana, who gave a Bharathanatya recital on the inaugural day, has performed in many parts of the globe and of course all over India. Being a student of Dandayudhapani Pillai, K J Sarasa and Kalanidhi Narayanan, she has performed in major festivals and conferences of the country and has received prestigious awards and titles like - Nritya Choodamani, Natya Kalashikamani and Natyacharya.
Urmila regaled the audience with her Bharathanatya with her instant appeal. As she interprets the ragamalika piece in her own style the impact is indelible. She performed with precise foot work, enhancing the beauty of her dance.
Her Abhinaya in the Dandayudhapani's Pada was also convincing. In the Behag composition dramatising the situation, it was also pleasant. She concluded with the popular devaranama 'Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma'. There was a touch of class throughout Urmila Satyanarayana's recital.
From the wings S K Suresh - vocal and Natuvanga, Bharadwaj on mridanga, T Shashidharan on flute and Ganeshan on violin - gave good support.
Sattriya dance by the Abhinaya Dance Company, Assam, was a different, but a pleasant experience. Anitha Sharma, who has a masters' degree and knowledge of few other dance forms also, is trying hard to popularise Sattriya dance.
Anitha Sharma performed with few other dancers some special items like Nandi, Chaliya, Borgi and Uma Rudra Samwad. With soft but melodious music and traditional music background, traditional costumes and dress, with local flavour, created a different atmosphere and good experience.
Shruthi, a little shaky
V Madhavan Nayar was not only a senior journalist, but also author of 53 books, poet (with the pen name of 'Maali'), researcher in 'Kerala Sangeetham', dramatist, scholar in Kathakali and a sportsman too.
He served the All India Radio also and was conferred with the Kerala Sahitya Academy Award. In his memory, Madhavi Ramumar, critic, sponsored a music programme on Sunday at the M E S Kalavedi.
Vocalist Vani Sateesh, who hails from a musicians family, gave a vocal recital, accompanied by Adithi K Prakash on violin, C Cheluvaraj on mridanga and Sukanya Ramgopal on Ghata.
'Intachala,' the familiar varna gave her a good start. 'Saraseesuhasana Priye' is a soulful composition. Saint Tyagaraja has praised Shabaree's devotion in a telling way in a Keerthana in the raga Mukhari, which was presented by Vani neatly.
'Paridana michithe' was pleasurable. She sprang a surprise by choosing a lyric of Madhavan Nayar (Maali) 'Matha Pitha,' in praise of parents and the 'Vilamba Kaala' suited the 'Bhava' of the poetry. Kalyani, revealed striving for instant likeability.
Though a shaky shruti was coming occasionally, especially in the Thara Sthayee, it was a good effort by one who is evolving as a good vocalist.
A devaranama (Jagadoddarana) was also sung in Madhyama Sruthi, before
One recalls Anup Mathew Tomas's straight, non-aesthetising photographs that indifferently document ordinary sights of his native Kerala that from within the character of those sights offer an intuition of broder, vital and complex phenomena from around present-day reality inextricably connected to history.
"Hereinafter", his current exhibition at Galleryske (August 15 to September 22), rather than focussing on another specific area and issues, deepens the artist's effort to preserve the sensation and value of mundane yet precious, fleeting moments of life as well as respect the act behind it, while its normalcy bears on art-making.
The aim and the process of materialising become enhanced thanks to the theme of honouring the dead through gestures that in various ways, practical and symbolic or artistic, deal with the fact and preserve the memory of individuals, often with tenderness or through humble enshrinement.
Avoiding anything sanitised, grandiose or sentimental, the shots have dying as part of living, its prosaic character including a matter-of-fact acceptance on par with a desire to make the end possibly nice. Everything remaining on the low-end plane, plenty of commonplace level-headedness, naivety and awkwardness blend with simple humanity, touching warmth, a tinge of humour or bemusement and loftier aspirations.
If earlier Thomas left it to the images to hint at persons, tales and passing time behind them, the new photographs do reveal the basic preoccupation with the dead, commemoration without, however, revealing their concrete circumstances, hence their broader conclusions. Admitting limits here, or, more likely, rooting them in the detail and specific address or issue, the artist has offered a simple, written guide to the show which situates each scene among personalities and situations. Along the mutually contributory images and stories, spectators can also sense subtler aspects of the whole.
A majority of the photographic takes owing to their direct and frontal, plainly registering look, all the more effectively draw their meaning and evocativeness from inside the appearance and behaviour of the world they document.
After the introductory photograph of an official plaque commemorating the opening of a bridge by a minister who dies one day later, two kinds of images refer to the human need for remembering dear ones and beautifying the rites of their passing, an eerily atmospheric one presenting skeletons and jarred specimens in a private biology museum, the other with a pedestrian literalness showing decorated funeral vans equipped with dirge orchestras.
The allusion to art proper recognisable there continues in the picture of an old but never used film camera, which, however indicates a dead-end quite like an unluckily located crematorium does and the unoccupied mausoleum. As the death of an elephant is treated almost on par with that of people, the striving to grasp the weirdly dramatic grandeur of a gruesome crime scene or a road accident in a police museum nearly equals that to calmly appreciate somebody's on-going collection of obituary card portraits from church announcements, the show culminating in a man's pre-staged lying in coffin.
Experiment in collaboration
Naturally, Karnataka-Karnataka residencies at Bar1, by bringing closely together young artists from diverse places, often result in collaboration, the focus of the latest chapter (August 1 to 3) which had four female participants from Shimoga, Mysore and the City. The visitors felt that more than an even level stimulation towards sincere, involved and sometimes inventive experimentations with materials and methods was important.
The mirror handbag holding personal objects on the glass of a cupboard was intended by Asha Rani and Tejaswani Swamy to evoke their sharing of art experiences, although one needed explanation to understand its meaning. If such information helped understand another collaborative venture of Sindhura D M and Snehal Chordia, the work itself sensitively revealed the mood around joint presence and effort.
The intimate atmosphere triggered by the rain outside was conjured by the loose, two-coloured threads gently coming down a floor mat and by the duet of short strokes drawn in ink and in stitching death and its suggestive of a rhythmic interior.
Even individual pieces in a different manner reached for a connection with others. The performance of Asha Rani against projections of young girls saw the rope-binding motif as a common metaphor for the restricted female. Authentic but somewhat obvious, it was a contrast to Tejaswani Swamy's interactive installation with a rangoli, jute, a mount of rice and a large rice grain of turmeric which appealed as formally interesting, but did not on its own indicate the intended significance of hunger for life and art or the equation between the rice grain and herself.
Pleasing sans sparkle
Chandrasekhar, a Veena player, is a budding artiste of the State. Though blind by birth, he is determined to climb great heights.
Chandrasekhar performed for alumni of the Bhavan's HB College of Communication and Management, Bangalore, on the Teachers' Day. He took off on a vibrant note with the Shahana varna which, in two speeds, gave him a rollicking start.
The invocatory piece, "Vathapi Ganapathim", in the raga Hamsadwani, was followed by "Sarasamukhi Sakala Bhagyade". This composition of Dr L Muthaiah Bhagawathar, was very popular in old Mysore and Chandrasekhar rendered it with chitteswara. Then two well-known krithies of Tyagaraja "Manavya Lara" (Nalinakanthi raga) and "Sogasuga Mridanga Thalamu" (Sriranjini), paved the way for the main items of the evening.
The alap for Hindola was deftly supplemented with a neat thana. It was followed by ever popular composition "Samaja varagamana", which appeared more convincing than his earlier compositions. He must avoid slips. It was pleasing sans the sparkle. The 'Nityotsava' had its lyrical flavour and the Behag thillana was evocative.
He concluded with "Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma", customarily. Chandrasekhar, no doubt, is capable of more solid performance. Praveen Hariharan accompanied on Mridanga. After graduation, he has also secured an MBA degree and is learning Veena under the tutelage of Vidushi Indira Ramakrishna. He has won prizes from reputed organisations, including Bangalore Gayana Samaja and has performed in a few Sabhas also.
The Bengaluru International Arts Festival, under the aegis of the Artists Introspective Movement (Aim), is the brainchild of Dr Suma Sudhindra, popular Veena player and Veena Murthy, Kuchipudi exponent. The festival being held in nine different venues, will continue till September 16. Malavika Sarukkai, internationally acclaimed Bharatha Natya dancer at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, caught the attention right from the opening Thandava in the raga Naata. 'Sringara Lahari' of Aliya Lingaraja Urs, was very popular all over the South a few decades back.
It has an old world flavour and is full of ragabhava (Neelambari). She performed it with grace. In the Ragamalike composition of C V Chandrasekhar, the energetic and crisp foot work, and abhinaya with good involvement made an impact. Skillful footwork to the background of percussion instruments (both Mridanga and Thabala) enthralled the audience in the "Mahishasura Mardhini", climaxing in the death of the demon, telling in its effect. Vasudha Ravi (vocal), Neela Sukanya (Natuvanga), Nellai Balaji (Mridanga), Sai Shravanam (Thabala) and Sri Lakshmi (Violin) - provided good support.
The Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat's programme for the month of September was different from its routine monthly programmes. Senior K N Venkatanarayana gave an interesting commentary for the compositions rendered by his son K V Krishna Prasad.
Venkatanarayana said the music is a divine art and Indians from centuries are practising it as a means of 'Aradhana'. Indian music, especially Karnatic Music, is full of meaningful compositions and most composers are also great devotees.
Instead of the routine invocatory pieces, Krishna Prasad opened with a composition of Sudha R Rao. 'Hari Ninna Dhyanava Maaduva Manava' was in Purvi Kalyani and rendered with brief swara. 'Ramaninnu' of Veena Seshanna was in the raga Anandabhairavi.
'Sri Viswanatham Bhajeham', the chaturdasha ragamalika of Dikshitar, with lilting gait, was interesting and was the highlight of the programme. 'Paramathmudu' of Saint Tyagaraja was elaborated with raga and swara, evocatively. Krishna Prasad with his good voice sang with feeling and concluded with a composition of R K Padmanabha in the raga Sindhu Bhairavi. Anand Viswanath and B S Prashanth accompanied him on violin and mridanga, respectively.
Tentative self-moulding in travel
"450 miles of thriving silence", Rajarshi Sengupta's just concluded exhibition evoking-narrating-explaining the role of journeys through the spaces, sights and sensations of geography and history in the fluid process of identity formation (Sumukha, August 25 to September 15), had one responding to it simultaneously with excited appreciation and some irritation or confusion. The dual state appeared to be both welcome, even expected by the show's theme along with the methodological premise and still obfuscating in the end as to its basic intentions, since the viewer was not always sure how to interpret things.
Eventually, considering the Kolkatan artist's very young age, one perhaps understood the situation to have been brought on by an uneasy relationship between the sincerity of his sometimes naïve frankness during an unresolved, multifarious endeavour and the obligation to display cerebral complexity. As such, the visitor as well as the artist accepted the necessity of verbal explanation to straighten some rather inevitable misconceptions. For instance, the central motif of ample bright red floral fabric designs could be at first glance associated with femininity as interpreted by a male painter, but it turned out to arise from the reference to traditional textile industry in Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh where Sengupta travelled from Bangalore and which triggered the inspiration for the current work.
The onlooker's uncertainty grew not only because the images presumed contradictoriness and verge condition on inputs but also because the pieces oscillated from the literal to the deliberately clouded. The former came with the sole installation which consisted of a fancifully painted contemporary valise of an umbilical link with a boxed array of pictures of motion from a metallic human leg to a variety of new and dated vehicles. The several mixed media paintings fell into partly overlapping series that covered and connected different sides of the travelling for self-knowledge phenomenon. Sengupta seemed to be more comfortable with small formats that responded to their intimate viewing address.
A majority expressed or alluded to as well as illustrated or symbolised the permeable and ever mutating, contrary yet complementary stratification of elements that add to the state and sights of voyaging. Dynamic, fanning out dotted lines coexist there with indications and transformations of map markings of rivers, roads and shores which are echoed in the interrupted yet progressing trajectories of trees whose stylised, linear silhouettes acquire qualities of textile patterns, the latter partly approximating live blossoms and chillies, but partly becoming ornate, flat block prints.
Human figures likewise fluctuate from the fairly realistic precise to roughened and to mannered. Their seeming concreteness and profusion becomes somewhat undone amid the misty rubbings and running water colour hazes in landscapes that could be in the air, while the brief words of a hand written-typed character mischievously point towards inherent contradictions of everything. Yet more layering enters with the more convincing, colour-wise sombre series referring to the colonial-time textile industry and the mutually influenced cultural hybrids shaping on the sides of the rulers and the ruled. One did admire the dense accumulation of images and times, but the tone should have avoided too much indulgence.
Between courage and convention
The eight participants of the "Srujana Spanda" exhibition at Rasa Art Gallery (September 8 to 13) were fresh post-graduates from Bangalore University, their youthfulness bringing together typical beginnings of diverse aesthetic and thematic strands on the line from natural individualism to fair conventionality. One liked the comparatively courageous and socially relevant ventures into the strange complexities of urban reality, especially the personal take of Sagar Dandotti who with an unforced lyricism and humour conjures fantastic-practical machines.
The printmakers Shivayogi R Annanavar and Jagadeesha K M with fair fluency layered and cramped aspects of city into hybrid environs, using well the mutually responsive means of texturing and clear designing.
In the similarly aligned water colours of Swetha Y, the concrete-organic world approximated a slightly too patterned jigsaw, whereas Veeresh Rudraswami in his acrylics on paper conjured abstracted suggestions of the condition. If his large canvases seemed excessively design-based for their meaning, Sujata Shetty painted vast nocturnal scenes of feminine immersion in plant-life that also relied on mannered designing.
Of the two sculptors, a bolder but not yet resolved and not always independent, effort came from Asha Rani with her truncated figures and juxtaposition of alien materials. While she resorted to abstraction to evoke an imbalanced state, Deepu S R created highly abstracted figures based on typical modernist precedents and freer but only pleasant informal pieces in textured glass.
Homage to Guru
Prof M P L Sastry (1912-2001) has served in the field of education for several decades. He was a great scholar and also served as a member of the Legislative Council . Above all, he served as the principal of MES College. He was known for his scholarship, discipline and was conferred the title of 'Vidya Sagara' which suited him very well. MES Kalavedi conducts a music festival in his memory every year. Musicians, who are former students of the MES College are invited to perform in the festival.
This year, veena, flute, violin solo, apart from vocal concerts, brought variety to the M P L Sastry Memorial Music Festival held last week. Ashwini K Varaghur (Ashwini B Subramanya) who gave the inaugural concert of the festival, has received the advanced training from Dr N Ramani, under a scholarship from the Human Resource Department.
She is a performing artiste (flute), composer and teacher. The Ragamalika varna gave Ashwini Varghur a fine start. The mohana kalyani krithi of Dr L Muthaiah Bhagavathar was enlivened with a brief swara. In the keerthana "Guruleka Etuvanti", Tyagaraja says, "No one, however talented and virtuous he may be, can get rid of his mental afflictions without the help of a competent and compassionate Guru. The Guru (mentor), who by the grace of the Lord had spiritual illumination. Only such a mentor can help !
Ashwini's alaap for Gaurimanohari was as enduring, rising the emotional fervour of the keertana. It was followed by "Annapurne Vishalakshi" at a slow pace. "Entha Muddo Enta Sogaso" with short raga had a lingering effect. Another fine keertana "Evarura ninavina" with spacious alaapana, bristled with some lively phrases. It was melodious and she played with confidence. No doubt, Ashwini has a bright future. M S Govindaswamy, a senior violinist, gave whole-hearted support, while B S Prashanth accompanied on the mridanga with good understanding.
Ranjani Guruprasad performed at a concert jointly organised by the Malleswaram Sangeetha Sabha and Ananya last week. Ranjani Guruprasad, who was earlier known as Ranjani Hebbar, is a postgraduate in music and has received prizes from several reputed sabhas, including the Music Academy.
In the current concert, the majestic raga 'kalyani' assumed a stately presence and the composition (Ethavunara) put the concert in a solid mould. The ragalapana itself was well proportioned and the composition acquired a delightful presence.
Of course, the nerval has to be improved to be brought on par with other elements.
Otherwise, it was a classic picture of the haunting melody. A few devaranamas (Kandu Kandu Nee Enna and Hoova Tharuvara Manege Hulla Tharuvare, Lalisidalu Magana) were also pleasing. In total, it was a sure sign of her progress. Young instrumentalists - Vittal Rangan (violin) and Bharadwaj (mridanga) - shared the honours with the vocalist.
Sri Venugopalakrishnaswamy Temple, Malleswaram hosted the annual cultural festival in connection with Gokulashtami, which will continue till Friday (September 21). Sanjay Subramanyam, who gave a vocal recital here, attracted a large gathering, a proof of his popularity.
Sanjay mainly dealt with two ragas. First it was 'mohana', the evocative raga. He chose a kriti of Tyagaraja "Nanupalimpa" in this raga. On the auspicious occasion of his daughter's marriage, a student presented a painting of Kodandarama to Tyagaraja. Overwhelmed with joy, the beautiful picture, it is said Saint Tyagaraja composed and sang "Nanu Palimpa" keerthana. The other raga he elaborated was 'bhairavi'.
He gave a beautiful shape to the raga with evocative sangathies. Thana to the accompaniment of mridanga was striking and complementary to the raga. Pallavi with ragamalika swara was colourful and wholesome. He added in between a devaranama (Enna Rakshiso), Bhogindrashayanam and concluded with a Thillana.
It was a powerful vocal, from which a distinct imagery emerged and connoisseurs enjoyed it throughout. Varadarajan on violin, especially, in the alapana and swara gave good support, Neyveli Venkatesh gave lively accompaniment on mridanga and S Venkataramana was in charge of 'khanjari'.
Immobility stimulates meaning
An exhibition, "37 Indian Still Lifes", comprising works of mostly the country's photographers and a number of foreigners shooting here, Tasveer's latest exhibition (Cinnamon, August 24 to September 14), came as an interesting and insightful exception from the prevailing series from the oeuvres of individual photographers.
Although this is not stated in the catalogue, the artists' comments accompanying their works suggest that they have been asked to respond to the broadly understood theme of still life. The participants being photographers of high quality as well as visual artists using the camera among other means, let one intuit yet again the common presence of enhanced or analysed sensation and the meaning of reality as an essential element of creating art.
The titular subject was rarely referred to in its classical forms from the memento mori to the conventional academic type, instead revealing finely and in a diversity of ways certain properties of image restriction and its stilling that are capable of and necessary to stimulate a heightened sensation, mood and perception or interpretation of things beyond the descriptiveness of the immediately apparent and which are often, if not always, required in creative expression. The works as such make one realise how photography anchors its interpretative in the experience of the world thanks to its close link to its direct surface. One quite agrees with Anjum Katyal's introduction, which stresses that all photographs are still life in some manner while negotiating death and revival on another plane.
However, one tends to associate the importance of conscious composing by the artist not with him or her actually arranging motifs to be shot but, rather, recognising the self-evocative parts of the visible, choosing only the most vital from those, and approaching those with aesthetic adequacy and sporadically, with a slight but significant gesture, whether that happens intuitively or is conceptually oriented.
It is from the latter position that Vivek Vilasini issues a contemporary memento mori warning in his origami skull of banknotes.
Apart from the natural similarities to the genre in the senior Jyoti Bhatt's rustic wall detail and perhaps in the barbed wire surrounded temple pinnacle by Manoj Kumar Jain, some artists allude to it knowingly yet indirectly, be it the stuffed tiger head in a glass case in a present day hotel by Anna Fox or Arun Nangla's electrifying red roses by a socket, Bloodsow V S's miniature Barbie doll as the key to feminine angst, Christopher Taylor's messy bananas brimming with vitality, Karen Knorr's sensuous and posed, nonetheless more expressive coexistence of animals with human handled objects, the wall with a crack and a firm ring which for Madhavi Swarup captures the dual force of existence, the steel glass against a pink curtain which for Sunil Gupta represents HIV children and Mahesh Shantaram's piling of kitschy draperies and vases in a wedding set that speaks for the current middle-class ethos.
Several images may not be aware of the still life connect while bringing out its essential properties and impact from the direct, like in Amit Pasricha and his mass of vivacious, colour-stained shoes left by Holi revellers, in Annu Palakunnathu Matthew and her raw but nostalgic heap of cane baskets, its poetic equivalent in Neeta Madahar, in Jasmeen Patheja's interaction with a clock shop window display, in the old-fashioned, warm solidity of well deserved payment in Tom Parker. Some photographers oscillate between the feel of detail proximity and vast scenery (Vinay Mahidhar, Vicky Roy, Tim Hall, Tarun Chopra, Swapan Nayak, Saibal Das, Rajib De, Rajesh Vora, Prashant Panjiar, Prarthana Modi, Francois Daireaux), some others subtly and strongly conjure virtual landscapes from interiors to perceptively evoke hidden but real conditions behind (Adil Hasan, Anuj Ambalal, Bijoy Chowdhury, Deepak John Mathew, Edgar Angelone, Gireesh G V), even surreal atmospheres (Amit Mehra) or simultaneously intrinsic and somewhat wonderfully staged moods (Navroze Contractor, Mukesh Parpiani, Pradip Malde).
Imagination is more important than knowledge…", the installation by Tiffany Singh of New Zealand (September 8 to 14), was the result of her residency at 1 Shanthi Road and her interaction with children and teachers of Jagruthi School. Although attractive in its brightness and the graceful intensity of the collected material, it had a fair dose of the literal and the insufficiently processed. Meant to suggest and stimulate mutually influential story-telling and dreams of journeying, the work had flights of many coloured threads fanning out sideways from a wall corner reflected in such progressions of ritual powders, all interspersed with multitudes of child-painted paper boats and ethnic motifs from garlanded jars to clay lamps.