On Ganesh Chaturthi, the writer looks at how the remover of obstacles has grabbed the attention of designers, illustrators and landscape artists
The idol makers are resting as people taking home statues of the god whose birthday they celebrate today. Sweetmeat makers have sold modaks, pedhas and barfi and with Ganesh Chaturthi, we’ve been ushered into the festive season.
Apart from being the remover of obstacles who is invoked at the start of any enterprise, the elephant headed god has grabbed the attention of artists, fashion designers, illustrators and landscape artists among a whole lot of others.
So why is Ganesha a popular muse? Vivek Prabhakar, Founder and CEO of Chumbak says: “What makes Ganesha a favourite is that he’s a universal figure. He is a god but is also a symbol of protection. Artists are attracted to him since he has a widespread appeal without any religious bias. We've always enjoyed designing Ganesha inspired products at Chumbak. They’ve always been accepted very well and are constantly on our bestsellers list.”
Popular illustrator Alicia Souza who always comes up with drawings on festivals for her fans and followers on Facebook quips: “Ganesha is the epitome of a cute god. He is friendly with a sweet tooth. Also he brings luck and removes obstacles with his axe, which is always a good thing!”
Gone are the days of gold pendants of the deity or silver charms of him. Today’s fashion and accessory designers are taking their fascination for the elephant-headed god to a whole new level. He is now a popular motif on t-shirts and on designer garments. Fashion blogger Nishika Rai says: “I picked up the prettiest sterling silver bracelet that has elephant trunks symbolic of Lord Ganesha on it and even a pair of studs to match them and guess what? I found them while on holiday in Australia! Also, I find so many such pieces available for sale online and from foreign shores.”
Freelance fashion designer Sneha Sood states: “I liked Mumbai-based designer Sannam Chopra’s line of youthful Ganesha pendant necklaces. They’re perfect for the season. I have tried incorporating rangoli colours that are associated with the festival into my latest line of apparel.”
Shrub and hedge art has also provided gardeners ample space to incorporate the popular Hindu god of prosperity. “My father has a green thumb and as kids we always liked the way he would trim and shape hedges into mini trees, dogs and once even a small whale. Last year, however, at our ancestral house in Kerala, drawing inspiration from Ganesha, he shaped two little elephants out of the hedges,” recounts Pallavi Nair, a collegian.
Yoga instructor Manav Jajodia points out: “Ganesha has definitely traversed geographical and religious boundaries. While he is a popular muse for the art folk and has made his presence felt in pop culture, he is still as popular in our homes.”