Art & More
Navigating the territory of the art world is a motivational experience. Art exhibitions throughout history have been the pictorial panacea for one’s emotive convalescence. However, the design of these exhibitions seems to contradict its aim, i.e., to welcome all into its space. It is commonly perceived as an intimidating and daunting hemisphere of intellectual entertainment…
A young boy is running through the rain-splattered woods dressed as a peacock, ready for his first dance – a performative art that integrates the heritage of dance and drama, Chhau. The dance form draws simultaneously from martial arts, tribal, and folk traditions and culminates in a somewhat otherworldly experience—a collective conscience that elevates and transports viewers into a distinct spiritual realm. And this sense of the collective is essentially nothing but that intoxicating power of the moment when an entire community comes together to celebrate a festival that is rooted in their life’s fabric.
Theatre goes digital, plays out over the phone: the one-person audience, rendering performances from the comfort of their living rooms. The experience is somewhat surreal. At first, it seems a little mechanical as a series of recorded messages greet the listener, asking them to press numbers to choose one’s preferred language and genre. When one finally picks a topic that interests them, however, they are assigned a living, breathing, and talking voice—and for a second, one is a little unsure whether it is still a bot talking on the other side. Though a little…
There are as many people inside as there are in the market, yet this place seems quieter and calmer. Made entirely from Papier Mache, the colorful walls are covered in intricate naqshband artforms. The three tall dome ceilings of the entrance of the central chamber beckon the visitor into a world of noiseless sensation wrapped in from the outside of a city abuzz, curtained in by the army of pigeon sentries sitting on every possible space of wall and structure, in crowds of countless flutter.
The festival becomes a confluence of religion, faith, culture, and art. Pandals (marquee) are erected to house the Durga idol for the seven days of worship. The city of Kolkata and the entire state of Bengal bursts into spaces of gigantic annual art exhibitions. The lanes appear to shift and readjust themselves to fit in these installations. There is often a disjuncture between the grand, even phantasmagoric pandals and the shabby neighborhoods which accommodate them.
Where did we leave off? Turned out the lights. Walked down along the empty dark hallways one last time – cooling systems set at the correct temperature, objects intact, the wall labels placed correctly, the guide pamphlets stacked in order, and worktables cleared. Looking one last time at the pieces of time and history inside the glass cases, the silica crystals appear to start losing color already, the world unaware that it will be more than just a few days.
Closing our eyes and trying to remember the most beautiful spaces we have been in – favorite beach, watching the night lights moving past the car’s windshield, lying under a Christmas tree, watching the flickering fairy lights. Beauty of these spaces creates the common thread of joy. Our joy, happiness depends upon this beauty and aesthetics of our surrounding, our spaces. Beauty thus is triggered by the stimuli of the space and defined from the perspective of the occupant of that space.