Friday, January 30, 2009

I see red

I wish I could paint the sky red.


I have loved the color red forever. I use it extensively in my work and life. Red has been a definitive choice, right from choosing my first crayon to the new silk scarf around my neck. But its not its beauty but its duality that attracts me. An artist can portray positive and negative feelings effortlessly with just one stroke of red; clearly that’s why it is one of the most commonly used colors by our Indian artists.

Manjit Bawa has created some astonishing paintings using the opulent red backdrop. Simple saturated red background surfaces the spiritual and pure forms to indicate the heightened state of devotional passion. ‘Govardhana’ depicts a mythological scene in red where Shri Krishna saves his devotes from the rain. Even though the painting is predominantly red, it still looks calm and serene.

Legendary Ravi Raja Verma paints beautiful Indian woman clad in elegant red saris making the centre of the many mythological composition. The figures always portray a felling of longing, love and passion highlighted by the intense red attire worn by them. In contrast to the passion evoking red clad ladies is the mythological scene of abduction of Sita by Ravana. The drama and despair of Sita is heightened because Raven is been shown wearing a red loin cloth with fierce blood shot eyes.

Another very famous painting Mahishasur by Tyeb Mehta shows the turmoil between the good and the evil. The red buffalo here is the mythological demon Mahishasur who is been killed by the goddess Durga. The artist shows the victory of good over evil with the demon submitting itself to the divine and embracing the goddess in atonement. The red there symbolises evil inside the demon slowly regenerating the original self..

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