Art

India International Spiritual Art Festival explores inner peace

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Nettipattam, a golden mask that decorates the foreheads of elephants during temple festivals in Kerala, appears in a glittering and colourful replica at the ongoing India International Spiritual Art Festival. Apart from artist Shobha Prem’s ethnic nettipattam, crafted using gold plated fibre domes, there are several other exhibits that occupy a pride of place at the virtual show (https://spiritualartfestival.org/) that runs for 100 days till November 8, 2021.

Over 70 artists from India, Poland, South Africa and Oman showcase their art and sculptures themed on meditation, awakening, spirituality, wisdom and inner peace. Artist Vernika Singh’s graceful sculptures, made in aluminium and mild steel, shows humans in Surya-namaskar poses highlighting postures, movements, and gestures. The raw figures that focus on the anatomy rather than facial features draws a viewer immediately. Pune-based Manasa Priya makes crochet art work inspired by children and Kuppaana Kandgal’s oil paintings highlight calming textures. Ishrath Humairah creates mysterious landscapes in abstract textures that revolve around rocks, trees, and Nature. Mauli Shah’s kaleidoscope series in water colours captures the mundane.

“The art show is an expression of emotions including love, compassion, enlightenment, knowledge, sisterhood, brotherhood, forgiveness and more,” says Blake Willis, a professor of anthropology and education at Fielding Graduate University in California in a video message on the website. “It gives an international platform to deserving artists to showcase their work. We are looking forward to enjoying art and the stories behind the creations.”

Festival director Kalki Subramaniam, who is also a transgender activist and author, says the festival supports upcoming artists and a Delhi-based artist sold five pieces in a week’s time. “During the pandemic, spiritual strength is something we can rely on to stay calm,” she adds.

The festival features works by Canberra-based artist, Gautam Jhanjee. His collection of calligraphic art draws from the rich cultures of his home town as well as Maharashtrian and Punjabi influences from India, Oman, Germany, UK and Australia. Bridget Paul Shibu who curated the show with Kalki, says the spotlight is on lesser-known artists and their experiments using myriad media. “Muthiah Kasi from Auroville sticks to using ethnic, non-toxic soil colours. Mumbai- based Nandkumar Yashwant Kulaye works with wood, metal, fibre glass and sandstone to create abstract constructions. The show has been an eye-opener.”

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