Keeping the sheen of royalty intact
If traditional art is dying can we do better? With this in mind, artist Shobana Udayasankar, had decided to do an exhibition, which is traditional yet an kind of art which is subtle and intricate.
'Mysore art is one traditional art which is dying and therefore in the recent times needs reviving, and it is to this end that I would like to contribute and dedicate my work,' said Udayasankar. This is the first time she is exhibiting in the capital and hopes to see more people in the coming days.
'I feel a strong connection to the deeper spiritual meaning behind the art form. To me, this is more than just art; it is philosophical legacy, a glimpse into a whole way of life. On a daily basis, I am also inspired by the challenge this art presents - the mix of perfection, patience and diligence that such an intricate work demands – it is meditation, in its own way' said Udayasankar.
She also said, 'traditionally this art form has eminent background a lot of gold emphasized and were done earlier, with a lot of dyes and minerals, now I have only used water colours in it.'
Driven by passion for the art and a discipline in the practice, she approached the subject of mythology and in its essence captured the traditional aspect of the rare Mysore art. Shobana’s mission is to revive the interest in the Mysore style by making it accessible and relevant to contemporary audiences, without compromising on its artistic meaning or the integrity of its style and methods.
'I was inspired by the relative lack of attention given to this art form, and I wanted to do what I could to help revive this dying art. During a trip to Europe I was spell-bound at the work in the Sistine chapel, the awe-inspiring balance of grandeur, realism and mysticism that was such an integral part of Renaissance art. On returning home, I wondered why similar work seemed missing in our culture, other than the less intricate and more well-known Tanjore form. I began reading up about temple art, and before I knew it, Mysore Paintings had captured my heart, particularly with the mix of grandeur and elegance that I had found so appealing in European Renaissance art' she added.
Shobana has been working with the Mysore style of art for 20 years trained under the master artist Dundaraja and have also undergone advanced training under the renowned Mysore royal palace artist and curator, the nonagenarian Ramanarasaiah.She is also an exponent of Carnatic music and plays the Veena since childhood.
As to why Mysore art is so important Udayasankar said,'As a temple and palace art form, the purpose of Mysore Art has been to inspire devotion, serve as a vessel for the preservation of culture and historical knowledge, and also to function as a point of entry into philosophical enquiry and deeper ruminations into the nature of divinity and the universe. So the content tends to focus on events occurring in various scriptural and mythological texts, including the Puranas, or alternatively, the depictions of gods and goddesses, following the symbolisms and descriptions set out in ancient treatises. Mysore art has a rich legacy of more complex and less common themes, including the Samudra Manthana [Churning of the Ocean]– a metaphorical depiction of the creation of the manifested world that features over fifty individual figures. Similarly,The Wedding of Girija [Parvathi] and Shiva and Kama-Kameswari are few examples of how philosophical ruminations on the structure of the cosmos that have been presented and preserved for generations as art'.
With the painting costing somewherein between few thousand rupees to a few lakhs, it is worth the effort to see a heritage imbibed in art.
At: Arpana Caur Galllery, 4/6 Siri Fort Institutional Area, Khel Gaon
On Till: Today
Timings: 11 Am To 7 Pm