Monday, December 3, 2012

Myths and fantasies form the core of many wonderful works

The element of fantasy forms the crux of fairytales, resembling a sort of survival mechanism in art and in real life, renowned artist Manu Parekh had revealed. Late MF Husain was another artist who drew inspiration from Muslim fables, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. In the works of artists like FN Souza and Jamini Roy, myths about Christ, his crucifixion and resurrection as well as the devil were recurring motifs.

Anjolie Ela Menon, one of India's top contemporary artists, has recounted how the stories of her childhood while spending time with her grandmother inspired her. She narrated her stories of an old demoness who would scream, scare and threaten. The immense power of such fantastic narratives and fantasy tales has inadvertently seeped into her canvas. ‘Independence Day’, a new composition by the artist, captures little children's innate fascination for fairytales. She uses kites as mythic 'symbols' for them.

According to her, Indian art has invariably relied on its rich narratives and lore, barring a brief phase of Parisian influences. Paresh Maity is another artist who has let his fairytales do the trick in an installation ‘The Flying Dream’ done in wood, mirror and mixed media. It retells the Greek myth of the flying horse (Pegasus) and that of the bird-horse with wings (Pakkhiraj Ghoda) of the tales from Bengal. The installation is a culmination of varied mythological tales, creating a new metaphor for a mystical man-woman relationship.

Some blame the abstraction in the contemporary imagery for driving away fairy tales and myths out of the current art practice. But abstraction in India is actually fairy tale at its best, according to the Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) chariman Ashok Vapeyi. He has stated that the loss of connection with fairy tales could well be because of drifting away from traditional myths in an order to create a new universal contemporary language. Noted critic-curator and the brain behind ‘Roop Katha’, Ina Puri has been quoted in an IANS news report some time ago: "When one looks at Western art, one suddenly wants to return to memories of childhood and own fairytales."

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