Sunday, January 29, 2012

Doors Only Please

Several years ago, back home in Madras, I came across a stunning piece of mixmedia artwork at Focus Gallery. An artwork of traditional old wooden doors that used to dot Tamil Nadu's agraharams, it made me rather nostalgic, as I grew up near an agraharam in Madras. I had fallen so in love with the piece, that I had never quite forgotten and could recall it years later in detail. A few months ago, I finally chanced upon the work again on Geetha's blog

Meet the mystery artist. Meet K.R. Santhana Krishnan.

Santhana first began painting doors in 1996 for a final year project for his Fine Arts degree. 16 years, approximately 40 shows and 800 paintings later he continues...

Reminiscent of his hometown of Kumbakonam, these classic wooden doors and the homes within are slowly becoming yet another nostalgic remnant of a bygone era. He was inspired by the the Bengali artist Sanjay Bhattacharya, who similarly painted interiors as viewed from the entrance.

Deprived of people, these half open doors give us a glimpse of the everyday objects and lives of its inhabitants. Entrances or thinnais, had a pivotal role to play in daily life- it was where guests were received and business conducted on the raised seating areas just outside the doors. Doors which were fully opened only if the guest was a close relative who could be welcomed into the inner courtyard.

A mix of acrylic on canvas and wooden models of doors (complete with old locks and stained glass), Santhan's eye for detail deserves high praise. His paintings capture the tiniest details that give us a window into the life of these agraharams- glimpses inside of aluminum milk cans, kerosene lamps, tulsi madams,  turmeric painted to the bottom of doors to keep away insects and bugs, milk accounts scratched on wood or faint white numbers painted outside by the govt., to denote that polio drops were given to a child in the house under the immunization program. 

His acrylic on canvas works, depict the vibrant primary colours usually chosen to paint walls and doors, the peeling plastered posters and advertisements painted just outside on the walls.

 The colour above was popularly known as mittai pink.

 As captured in the painting above, Santhana notes "In those days, they used stained glass or plain ones above the door to let the light in. But in the afternoon they would place usually pictures of gods to keep out the bright light."

Santhana has also painted traditional doors and glimpses of inner courtyards of homes in Rajasthan and Punjab.

To check out more of his stunning work please visit- His website, Facebook page or blog.

For those of you in Bangalore, his solo exhibition, "Traveling doors" is on at Kynkyny art gallery, from Jan 21st 2012 to Feb 9th, 2012.
{Credit for images of all the artwork goes to K.R. Santhana Krishnan}

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

San Francisco: A Hipster's Guide to Hinduism

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum is holding an exhibition of the artworks of artist and Pixar animator Sanjay Patel. Titled  Deities, Demons and Dudes with ‘Staches, the illustrations of Indian avataars and Maharajas are quirky and fun. 

I loved the pop-culture re-interpretation of Hindu mythology.

Also do check out his lovely illustrated book-The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow.

The exhibition is on at the museum till the 22nd of April. While there, also don't forget to view the main exhibit- 'Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts'- The exhibit includes over 200 artowrks, jewelery and other pieces that the Kings of India collected and commissioned. 

Thank you AR for the link!

{Image credit for all illustrations goes to Sanjay Patel}

Friday, January 20, 2012

Is An All Black Apartment the Answer?

I'm quite bored with the all-white-apartment-with-splashes-of-color look that has been omnipresent for the last two years or more. It has moved from being a design trend to a design staple, and it is now high time that it reached the 'Oh SO passé!' stage.

Here's a rather unusual and exotic answer- An all-black space owned by the TED speaker and international advertising consultant Cindy Gallop. I'm not quite sure if I like this as an alternative. What do you think? It used to be a Y, and her apartment was the swimming pool!

An interesting end note- Cindy Gallop also spearheaded a rather fascinating project, IfWeRanTheWorld. A real-world experiment in tapping good intentions and turning them into tangible, do-able microactions. As the site states- All of us can achieve more than one of us, and everything starts with a microaction. 
On that note of a belief in a greater good, I wish you all a wonderful weekend ahead!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

RIP Bharati Chadha

While catching up on posts last night, it was with great shock that I read on Celebrations Decor that Bharati Chadha of E'thaan is no more. I had exchanged emails with her only a few months ago when I had purchased a masala dibba from E'thaan. I had written about it here before. Over my several interactions with her, she came across as a genuine, friendly and a really humble person. 

It is with great sadness that I note that this is the second such post on SHP, in the little over a year that I have been blogging. The young shouldn't die early.

My prayers are with Bharati's family.