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The Artist in You

        India is an ancient country with rich tradition and heritage.  It is mainly known for its sculpture and carvings, but unfortunately it confined to the temples.  Thus our temples are not just places of worship but are birth places of fine arts.  In spite of many temples being destroyed by foreign invasion, we have quite a few to depict our culture and to learn about our heritage through many carvings.  Some of them are done out of a single stone.

        I was always inspired by our sculpture.  The sculptural work depicts many things.  It reflects the level of civilization of the time, the pleasures and life style of the age they depict, the style of administration of the king.  It also conveys the stories of our Purananas- Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata.  In addition to these the finished art brings out the sculptors love of nature and the scene beauty in it.

        One master piece may cover many angles of beauty, but not everyone can get the full beauty of it.  Suppose we show a rose flower with a long stem to different people,  they see different parts of it.  No one sees it wholly.  The same way, if we take sun rise the most beautiful event in nature - different people react differently to the same beauty depending upon their field of interest.  A layman just appreciates it, a poet writes a poem on it, a novelist portrays that scene in his novel, a painter reflects the scene exatly on his canvas, a singer sings a beautiful song in praise of it, a scientist explains why the sky is golden yellow then !

        The same way the carvings we see in our temples make us react in different ways since we understand them in different ways based on our aesthetic taste.  I am sure each stone converted into a masterpiece has its own story to convey.  It may convey the ‘Hava’ and ‘Bhava’ of its sculptor or of its time.

        I wanted to tour all over India and visit all the temples to study the wonderful art, but I was not so lucky.  I have visited only one temple i.e., Ramappa  Temple in Warangal. I have spent two days and nights studying the temple. I do agree that the time is very less to study all the carvings there, but in that time I have drawn sketches and paintins of all the forms on the wall and inside the temple.  Surprisingly I have come up with more than 500 sketches.  The more I was painting, the greater was my feeling that each painting conveyed a particular story  or a theme behind it.  Some carvings looked they conveyed the meaning point blank,  but others seemed to convey more than the outwardly meaning.

        With my limited knowledge, I segregated the paintings into different categories like social custom, civic life, dance forms, musical notes, artistic forms, erobic designs etc.  Mostly the carvings portray serpents along with graceful human art.  This raised many doubts in my brain. Why does serpent run as a common theme ?  Does it portray Naga culture ?  How does it influence their social life ?  What artistic values they believed in ?  What beauty does a particular painting convey ?

        As I already mentioned,  I looked at each carving in one particular angle, but I have a strong feeling, it may have more than that.  Any art, for that matter, the deeper you go, the greater meaning and value it has.  I was struck with an idea.  I would like to seek your valuable opinion on the painting.  We would keep one painting per week in the web site.  You can react in any way you like.  If you are a poet, you are welcome with a poem on it. If you are a dancer you can describe the ‘bhangima’ of it.  If you are a singer, you can identify it with a raga.  If you are a historian you can go back to the particular age which it belonged to.  If you are a social scientist you can portray the civic life and the human psychology then.  If you are an artist you can describe its artistic value.  Thus we would like to receive critical appreciation of one painting of Ramappa Temple, to begin with.  This project is endless and we appreciate your endless response to it.  Your response will be posted in the web site.

     -Dr. T. Sai Krishna

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