From a depiction of the copper pod tree, which The Mother had named the Service Tree in the compound of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, to a visualisation of cosmic vastness and yogic power, a group show of paintings began here on Tuesday as a tribute to Sri Aurobindo to mark his 150th birth anniversary celebrations.
“Homage”, a group of 55 artists from India and abroad, features a range of works across multiple media such as oil on canvas, acrylic and water colours, as part of the tribute to a multi-faceted personage, whose vast body of literature also includes reflections on the function of art from the aesthetic, and instructive to its spiritual dimension.
Among the participating artists were those from the Ashram, Auroville and the city, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Howrah, as well as Netherlands and the Philippines. Among the striking exhibits were Lasse Van Den Dikkenberg’s linocut works and Adrija Biswas’s art on the theme of yoga and ‘supramental’ consciousness, the core of Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual philosophy.
On Aurobindo’s poem
Among the artists from the Ashram, Vishwajyoti Mohrhoff visually interprets Aurobindo’s poem “Who”, while Prabhat Biswas has an acrylic work on the doorway to the Ashram, symbolising a portal to a higher consciousness for servitors of the higher truth from all over.
C. Mounissamy has an acrylic on canvas frame on Puducherry as a city of symbols of enlightenment such as the Ashram and Matrimandir in Auroville, Seema Muniz dabs in water colours to depict the “inner ear” and Gayathry uses water colours to portray scenes typical of temple towns.
“The landmark birth anniversary is an occasion for followers to rededicate to the teachings and for the uninitiated to start discovering Sri Aurobindo”, said Kirti Chandak, artist and founder of TASMAI centre for art and culture.
Auroville’s “Savitri Art” initiative led by artists Usha Arvind and Padmarani Vandemataram Presingu have contributed a section of 12 paintings, almost a sub-genre, based on the verses from Aurobindo’s magnum opus “Savitri” based on the Mahabharata — Aurovilians have a long tradition since the 1980s of group reading the poem under the central banyan tree, a shared passion that led to the formation of the Auroville Savitri Study Circle and establishment of Savitri Bhavan.
“Savitri Art”, according to the artists, emerged from the sacred space of aspiration for the inner and outer perfection. Here, the inner perfection represents the reception of the highest essence and the outer perfection the expression of the beauty in form.
The homage exhibition is on at the Exhibition House near the Beach till August 7. The timings are from 9.30 a.m. to noon and from 4.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.