Sunday 9 September 2012

Oh Letters! You pose straight and stern....

Oh Letters! You pose straight and stern,

Gracefully twist and turn, 

You seem to sing and dance …

Be contemplative and in trance  

Amazing is your persona that charms me 

And make me think of you at every blink…

(Artist Sugo)
Above lines summarize the art of artist SUGO, as he is commonly known in art circle. For him Calligraphy is a captivating Art for several reasons, the common factor of calligraphy all over the world is that, of giving meaning, feeling and expression to letters. Letters are wonder invention…they form words, sentences and we think in words, we contemplate in silence…but again silence have  thoughts and thoughts are in letters (words and sentences). SUGO’s latest exhibition named Knyatavya (easy to understand), portraying Devanagri script and Hindu motifs or mantras. These eye catching series’ clearly presents his inclination towards spirituality and deliberation on munificence of Hinduism. 
Most calligraphers spread message of the particular culture, love and peace through their calligraphy.  Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, East Asia, Asia et al. has a common thread of message of humanity and moving away from destruction and violence. SUGO has signified this by having a dialogue through Indian Devanagri language and motifs, thus trying to make Indian (Hindu) Calligraphy a global phenomenon.  He makes the world aware of profound impact of motifs like ‘Aum’, ‘Swastik’ and ‘Rhim- rham on body and soul. He not only deliberates on sound but visually creates a meditative aura by using colors proposing mysticism and feeling of self awakening

 Along with the spiritual communion in ‘Mantra’ series, in the series named ‘Akshara’ SUGO reveals the beauty of Devanagri script. The letters seem personified, have body language and have momentum and they twist and turn gracefully. If they are contemplated with closed eyes it seems to have rhythm; music, poetic appeal. Some letters seem to swiftly float, feel light as feathers. This might be the reflection of SUGO’s mind, of breaking away from practical existence and moving away from stress and burden into tranquility. He has symbolically linked letters with every minute element that creator Lord Brahma (In Hinduism Lord Brahma is said to be the creator of this universe) amalgamated together to create this universe.  Nature or universe is made of animate and inanimate objects; varying from micro to macro sizes and shapes and united they create a beautiful universe. Likewise, the letters in his paintings are the part of larger forms like, words and sentences. When letters are united in smaller groups they make a word; and word gives meaning to thoughts and so in the process language is born.   is like presenting the theory of evolution through letters.  

I was convinced about SUGO’s dedication to his art by his response to the question of ‘readymade calligraphy’ being made easily available on computer. When questioned about easy access to calligraphic fonts and saving time and efforts of creating it manually for various occasions, he confidently replied that it is a fact that technology has advanced and computer has made things easy and enables access to most difficult art, like Calligraphy; but for him calligraphy is not just writing artistically, but it is a matter of profound dedication and purity of thoughts that go into creation of each and every letter. He opines that Calligraphy will always have secured place in Art, despite of technological progress. 

I think his subject is unique because ‘Hinduism’ is confined to India; it can be called Indian religion. SUGO tries to introduce it to the world. It is not only about spirituality but has the power to balance and compose our mind and body. It reveals the mysteries of this Universe of how, why and who created it. It is a great pleasure to watch these paintings live and get enlightened. 
As reviewed by Pankaja JK. Art writer.

Tagged cube of Metro- by Pankaja JK

(Young artist Umakant Tawde)
Umakant Tawde moved to Mumbai city for professional development, now he lives and works in Mumbai. He commutes between South Mumbai (which is a commercial centre in Mumbai with many corporate offices located there and also have elite societies along with middle-class and poor ones) and western suburbs. This gives him the opportunity to observe the busy life of Mumbai, meet people of varied personalities and face the incidents and events. These experiences are captured I his latest series of paintings and thoroughly deals with magic spell of Mumbai created by mix culture, harmony between different class, caste and level of people. Its patience peace, love, care, unity and resilience in any and every circumstance; will to survive and face the struggle for living boldly. The series is the visual presentation of his personal experiences of Mumbai. His technique of oils on canvas symbolizes the amalgamation between contemporary city dwelling and traditional structure. One of his paintings, which has a folk woman artist with black and white images of shanties in background, is a deeper insight into the worse condition of living adopted by a villager due to dislocation. 

His earlier works reflected spirituality and serenity, as he painted images of Lord Buddha. I think his transition from that kind of work to painting trials and turbulences of urban life is a deliberate attempt to show how a common man would deal patiently face the trials of life without living the world in search of peace.  He shows how people adopt and practice meditation and concentration even in hustle-bustle of busy life. In the ‘Balancing Act’, a woman walking on the rope tied high with the help of bamboo balances herself smartly with a wrinkle of tension on her face. Her calmness and serenity is the example of practical application of concentration and she does this to earn livelihood; to meet her survival need. Umakant reflects by using darker hues on lighter background highlighting every gesture of the woman. 
(working on new series by Umakant Tawde)
 ‘Optimism’ is omnipresent throughout the series, in every image of toiling person. This attitude is found in people from lower strata of professional order, with no great achievements and adventures associated with them and dark future.  But their spirit of patience, efforts to be self dependent and hard working zeal is no less compared to great achievers. He shows that no matter what social status or background people come from, Mumbai city is always ready to welcome and shelter their hopes and dreams. 

Hunger is the base of every action. It makes one dance to its tune and every decision is aimed at fulfilling it. So there is desperate search for food or means of earning to buy food leading to dislocation due to poverty, unemployment and blank future l; of living life even in most awful condition and great struggle. Hunger is clearly indicated in painting of tiffinbox (painting is itself named as ‘’Hunger’) which represents food and the condition of people in search of food can be contemplated through every image in the series. 

Mumbai has blend of cultures and interestingly some of the fast vanishing folk art is still nurtured and admired in this city. Like many others folk artist from rural area migrate here to  obtain opportunity to earn; if not through modern means, then at least by displaying their talent and art and it is very interesting that modern Mumbai cherishes these talents in right spirit.  Paintings like ‘Tradition v/s trade-intension’ and ‘Balancing Act’, shows how the folk art of singing and sports is admired and still find its existence in Mumbai. In ‘Balancing Act’, a lady walking on a rope tide high with the help of bamboos.  This is a profession of people belonging to ‘Acrobat’ community. A poor flute seller boy, who plays a mesmerizing tune and the flute seller’s tune, has magical effect on people and it provides happiness to tired and restless busy souls of Mumbai. So it is not necessary to buy spare time and huge amount for pleasure and entertainment and buy concert tickets; if one wished, one tends to find it on the roads of Mumbai. These talented souls have to struggle hard to exist, but their struggle becomes bearable in Mumbai city where we do have people giving them attention. This caring nature is a virtuous side of Mumbai which is one aspect captured in this series; inspires him to paint.

(working on new series by Umakant Tawde)
Artist meticulously scans ‘Struggle’ and observes that, not only human beings, but even animals cannot escape Struggle. Even they have to work hard for bread and butter. Over all, life is all about facing the problems, risks and poverty with bravery and patience.  According to Umakant life has become ‘Circus’ where everyone has to participate in risk taking act for food, cloth and shelter. The simple images in artworks present the larger idea. I personally infer these artworks with animal images as symbolic and guess that here artist intends to compare human life to that of animals. Human beings slog like animals, life is like a circus full of risk and apprehension. One has to be very confident in every difficult circumstance to face it boldly. This is the result of poverty, and lack of future in villages that people are pulled towards city.-

 Pankaja JK