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Updated: January 20, 2012 16:48 IST

Ebb and flow of life

Vidya Ramachandran
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DARK ART Mano Morado's work
DARK ART Mano Morado's work

Mano Morado's abstracts express the physical and psychological shifts in his journey

Mano Morado's works are enriched by his experience of a rare and often troublesome neurological condition. “I hold the eggshell of the cosmos, fragile contained in ebb and flow, upon the line where sand meets wave, and horizon meets the shore”, begins the poetry of Mano Morado, tacked onto a wall under a series of pen and ink drawings that form part of his latest exhibition “The creative womb — journey through the labyrinth”, currently on display at the Cholamandal artists' village.

Synesthete Manu Ananth, who goes by the name Mano Morado, is no stranger to the sometimes crippling effects of his condition — yet it is this same condition that has inspired his work.

After the collapse of his ceramics company Clayful, and the commercial struggle of his band Unreserved, the NID-Ahmedabad graduate experienced an intense bout of depression that was only amplified by his inability to distinguish clearly each of his senses.

Frenzy of production

His path to recovery was far from clear-cut — feeling as though he was “moving into a vortex”, he began to express his suicidal thoughts on paper with the same blue ink pens that he otherwise used to scribble down lyrics for the band. Soon trapped in a “frenzy of production”, he completed 50-odd drawings, a selection of which is displayed at the gallery as part of his first commercial exhibition.

His drawings are strange, dark and decidedly abstract, each one accompanied by a booklet of poetry that expresses his “journey”, both physical — from Delhi, where he lived for 15 years, back to Cholamandal, where he spent much of his childhood — and psychological, shifting from one of the lowest points of his existence back to a positive, creative medium.

Son of a yoga teacher and a vastu shastra student, Morado was exposed to spiritual philosophy at a young age. Both his ink drawings and digital artworks are centred on the idea that “all of us have access to this infinite probability of creative energy”, which is exposed when we attempt to see past the polarities of our lives, which inhibit our creativity.

His work is filled with yin and yang symbols, tree branches and geometrical patterns that represent the “combination of forces that create this combustive space”, which the artist has tapped into during his process of “meditation and recovery”.

A positive move

During this process, he has also been learning to channel his synesthetic capabilities in positive directions; a few of his artworks are, in fact, visual representations of songs played by his band, while he continues to use his experiences to run management and personal workshops for people seeking to clarify their expression and tap into their “creative, transformative energy”.

In sharing his process of recovery, Morado's artworks do in a way help viewers see past the binary oppositions that structure their lives so that they might also follow a similar path of personal discovery. “It's been a very enriching experience,” he says. “People have been coming in here, and just staring at the works for hours.”

The show is on till January 22. Check out Mano Morado's work on www.manomorado.com.

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