Monday, March 24, 2014

Flame of the forest

The flame-of-the-forest, or Palash flowers were in bloom well before Holi, all over Delhi and Gurgaon, as soon as weather turned warm. The Palash trees had shed their old leaves, and one could see the buds on the bare branches, as a curtain-raiser, till suddenly the trees were in full bloom, the branches laden with flaming orange-red flowers.

Dried Palash flowers or Tesu, would be earlier put into huge brass caudrons of water, to extract a thick vibrant yellow colour, to be used for playing Holi. I'm hoping there will be enough people next year to put a stop to the present artificial colours, and get back to the natural colours of Tesu.

Also, maybe this will lead to more initiatives to plant Palash/ Tesu trees along our city roads. The Palash trees look majestic, and as the dry Tesu petals fall off, they make for a wonderful flaming orange pavement, a rare treat for the eyes!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

An Art Factory

Surbhi Mehta, a young Gurgaon based artist has been busy the last few weeks creating an art hub in a large unused space of about an acre. The space was part of her father's paper factory. It came with a big open space, with peepul and neem trees, several potted plants, some factory sheds, and various unused machine parts, spares and paraphernalia.

The place has been cleaned, pruned and organized, the factory paraphernalia strewn around along with art installations and paintings, to form a vibrant creative space. An art-meets-factory workspace area. Complete with a factory style "chai" stall.

What also sets the place apart, is that though it is right in the middle of urban concrete and chaos, once you are inside the gates of the factory, it is a place with large trees and birds chirping, and a creative ambiance.
The plan is to hold art events and workshops and create an "open-space" of art and conversation. A few pics of the open-space:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Light between the trees

I love to look up and see the light filtering through the branches of trees. And sadly one sees the number of trees dwindling at a fast pace in the urban environment, and those that are there are not the old, dense types with a generous spread of branches. The modern urban trees mostly have narrow trunks, and a dismal famished appearance.

So I loved the exhibition of photographs, paintings and videos at the Art Heritage Gallery, Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi, by Ms. Kavita Jaiswal, many of which captured the spread of old, wise trees, and the light filtering through them.

Here is one that I loved:

What also appeals to me in her works is the seemingly dynamic flow of materials over time, as in this one - and there were several such - with minimal colours, mostly shades of black, grey and white. These compositions reminded me of the earth's formation through the ages; only the flow was important, not the form :