Sunday, 2 December 2018

Story from McLeod Ganj / GNOSIS - 2018 at Jehangir Art Gallery, Open at 11th Dec 2018

Does Buddhism and creativity have anything in common? May be, Yes. Buddhism is all about exploring self and attaining the power of mind over body, self realization and self- control. Creativity adopts or follows some methods of Buddhism, where in creator becomes meditative as he goes in creating and concentrating on exploring the depth of theme, thus, gaining a meditative hold over the physical appearance of the painting. Both, Buddhism and Creativity, cultivate our real and cryptic nature.




There is rise of ‘Consciousness’ in both. Meditation is not an easy process and when you sit to meditate you have more diversions of thought than ever before; there is not a single moment when you feel stable at soul. It is probing into unpredictable nature. Creativity follows same ebb of finding stability amongst chaos and move with the tranquil flow.

Artist Umakant has been working on the concepts and figures of the Buddha since last many years. Gnosis/ Bhikus is one further step in his creation of thought involving Buddha and Buddhism. . Here he directly paints the representatives of the Buddha- the Monks. Along with Dalai Lama, there are novice monks. We find that these novice monks’ expressions are not serene and meditative but seem to be at the infantile stage of becoming Monks, they have childish innocence on their face. They are allowed to explore their physical world and with the aid of Buddhist preaching they slowly develop self awareness.

Process of creativity is like these novice monks, a process of becoming self aware and breaking free from of influence from others. Without imposing grueling knowledge and letting them be of their age; this natural way of growing and side-by-side acquiring knowledge in a systematic way would turn them into serene and self-controlled Monks.

To show this initial stage of proceeding to be a true monks, Umakant has made use of colorful background and not as expected of Buddhism (and taken for granted) the association of the subtle shades. The innocence and radiance of novice monks is reverberated in these colors. These photographic style representations have characteristic colorful abstract backgrounds, devoid of figurative, mysterious mist.  


Lastly, not to ignore the painting of The Dalai Lama who displays courage and humility. Like him artist should also have both. Courage to discard all that which is troublesome and hurdle in finding inner vision. Humility, a spiritual nature to accept criticism without disquiet and gain highest level of spirituality.  

These paintings are unique in the sense that the images are well-known but they are metaphoric representation of real creativity and shows us that path to spiritual growth; be it by following Buddhism as by Buddhist monks or by being creative person. The path is difficult and main hurdle is mind and soul and development of self awareness. Self awareness by Monks or by artist, would surely lead to spiritual upliftment. The show is worth watching as imparting knowledge through visual means.




- by Pankaja JK 
2016



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Thanks for comment JK