Artist from India. Art from Thailand.
The work being exhibited here was created by me for my Ne-na Artist Residency at Chiang Mia in Thailand.
At Chiang Mai – Thailand
On 1st November 2014, I arrived at Chiang Mia Railway Station and was welcomed by Mr Shuket and Mrs Rampad. As I was being driven to my Residency, Mr. Shuket told me the sad news that Mrs. Rampad’s mother passed away the previous night. It was a surreal thing to hear as soon you arrive in a new land and among new people. It had such an impact on me that I wrote a poem about life, even as documented her state funeral.
Mrs. Rampad’s mother was the last Queen of the Lanna kingdom. She was 95 years old. Her funeral was after five days. As an Artist, I was allowed to be with them at this tragic moment, and was even allowed to document it. So I did videography and photography of the rituals that accompany the death of a Queen. Since it was the very first time I was documenting death, I could fathom the deep connection between life and death from close quarters.
The Last Beautiful Journey
Life is beautiful, but I realized, even her death was beautiful. It touched the bottom of my heart. And the soulful Lanna Music was playing in the background added to the beauty of melancholy. The ethereal atmosphere, the divine fragrance of flowers, the elegance of the decoration, the Lanna people in their traditional attire - everything was perfect to accompany the Queen on her final journey to heaven.
As I was travelling to my Residency after the funeral, I was thinking about the Lanna community and their spiritual lifestyle. And I realized the importance of a shape that dominated their temples, their sacred shrines and their religious scriptures: the triangle. My paintings in tempera in this exhibition take different forms of that mystical triangle.
At the Artist Residency, my paintings focussed on the Lanna community and their lifestyle. The triangular shape of the wooden roofs, triangles on the wooden flooring, and all other triangular shapes that formed an integral part of their traditional architecture got deeply embedded in me. Every single day I lived there, I found newer and newer expressions of that leitmotif: the triangle.
Shapes of Life
According to me, the triangle is the simplest form on earth: just three lines and three angles. Each position says something about life. Just as a mountain is strong and stable, the triangular base in the architecture of the Lannas gives them a stable equilibrium. In a functional sense, and in a philosophical sense.
A new born baby is blooming from a triangular shape. Birth moves in a forceful, triangular action. I realize that humans, animals and Mother Nature form an inseparable triangle. I think about male and female as different body shapes but as two triangles facing in the opposite directions. They come together overlapping each other, and they give birth to more new triangles. Like a six-pointed star.
Life and Art in Consort
I paint my tempera work on paper with many triangular shapes. My colors are the colour of earth, and they seamlessly, effortlessly flow on to the paper surface that is soaked in my new vision. My brush and my thought become one.
An Exhibition of Tempera, Photography, Video Film, Poetry and Ceramics by Raj Vasant Shinge based on the Artist Residency at Na-ne Art Space, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Venue Kamal Nayan Bajaj Art Gallery, Bajaj Bhavan, Nriman Point, Mumbai. Dates: 20th to 25th February 2017.