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Updated: December 8, 2010 20:17 IST

Of animal power

TREESHA DATTA
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Asiatic Lion by Lendro Castelao. Photo: Special Arrangement.
The Hindu
Asiatic Lion by Lendro Castelao. Photo: Special Arrangement.

Seven artists from across the world have created their rendition of animals venerated in Indian mythology

“We are not regular artists. We are working with graphic art and we function with a purpose,” states Divya Thakur, curator and creative head of design company Design Temple, who is in town to present ANIMANIA, a graphic arts show. What is unusual about the show is the concept. The 12 art works on display are created by seven artists from different parts of the world and it is their interpretation of the animals venerated in Indian mythology as deities and vahans (vehicles). The purpose of the exhibition, says Divya, is to rekindle our love for animals and create awareness about them in an effort to give back to the natural world.

The current state of wildlife in India is very alarming. Our wildlife contains several species that are living critically on the verge of extinction. While time is running out for these creatures it is not too late to help. “With the help of this exhibition we are trying to make people aware of the dangers faced by these animals. Many of us do not realise that we are harming them because our lives are not connected to theirs directly.” Elaborating on the concept of the show, she says, “The main idea behind the concept of animal veneration was to find character in them so people can easily relate to the works and thus bridge the gap between past and present.”

The artists whose works are on display, include Divya Thakur (Mumbai), Ingela P Arrhenius (Sweden), Josh Brill (USA), Christian Montenegro (Argentina), Leandro Castelao (Argentina), Seijiro Kubo (Japan) and Lokesh Karekar (Mumbai). All the art works are digitally printed on archival paper using spot colours. The artists were introduced to this concept and came up with a unique interpretation of their understanding presented in a contemporaneous style. The Japanese artist Seijiro Kubo has depicted the “Mongoose — in Animae style”. Lendro Castelao has a technical deconstructive technique where he says he recreates his subjects from the minimum. “The main idea is finding basic shapes that make the object recognisable and then start adding characteristics and values,” says Lendro.

While Josh Brill is very abstract and Divya and Lokesh's interpretations are also very modern-day in their style, which makes the ANIMANIA collection vibrant and universal. Divya's work “Eastern Imperial Eagle or the Garuda” (Lord Vishnu's vehicle) is done in bright colours and stands for power strength and stability. Another artist whose work is striking, is Christian Montenegro. His “Star Tortoise” (symbol of Yamuna) and “Ghariyal” or “The crocodile” (symbol of Goddess Ganga) are impressive. The colours predominant in the work are romantic blues and greens that lend the pictures a serene quality. The “Ghariyal” that moves in a straight path inside the water not noticing the fishes and other vegetation in Divya's words symbolise ‘going with life's flow without getting caught in ‘maya' or illusions'.

Some of the animals that form a part of this show are the “Tiger” (the vahan of Goddess Durga), “The Peacock” (the vahan of Lord Kartikeya), “The Lion” (a Symbol of Rahu), “The Elephant” (the vahan of Lord Indra), and “The Parrot” (the vahan of Kamdev) amongst others.

(“ANIMANIA: A graphic art show” will be on display at Lodi The Garden Restaurant in New Delhi between till this Tuesday.)

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