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Why I do what I do

This website will give you a glimpse into my work as an artist,  community builder and activist. I have been negotiating the world through the lens of a creative entrepreneur for the last two decades. It's been a wonderful journey with a lot of learning and collaborating with people I deeply respect.
In the coming years, I believe that creative thinkers will be crucial to document, stitch, hold and present the world. We are at the very edge of collapse on one side, and of a future that can spin out into unimaginable wonders on the other. I believe we can get to the happier side by working together!

Flashlight / Snakes & Lotuses

January 10th, 2008

Flashlight 1 | Oils on Canvas | 12″ x 12″
Flashlight 2 | Oils on Canvas | 12″ x 12″

Snakes & Lotuses 1 | Acrylics on Canvas | 12″ x 10″
Snakes & lotuses 2 | Acrylics on Canvas | 12″ x 10″
I’m excited! I have found a homogenous way to move from still lifes, to my sketches to compositions. In the last week I concentrated on still-lifes with oils/acrylics on canvas. It was liberating and intimidating to paint – I seemed to have forgotten how to even hold my brush…but I think it was all buried somewhere and has re-surfaced again.

I am working on 4 paintings simultaneously. Starting with the Flashlight Duo – I painted the first one very deliberately, adding and removing paint, correcting, erasing – all very carefully. With the second one, I worked very spontaneously. Scribbling with charcoal, layering paint thickly and just grasping the ‘real’ object. Looking at it as something that lived and spoke to me – something with real meaning. I ended up writing some free-form poetry directly onto the canvas too…this is a work-in-progress. I should have them completed this week.

With the Snakes and Lotuses Duo I think I am making the transition from just the external aspect of the object in the still-life (S&L 1) through to its symbolic meaning (S&L 2). The pink lamp head the perfect lotus, the black wire the shadowy snake. It took some time to realise what the object meant. A lot of re-working, scratching and searching before hitting upon it.

The Snakes & Lotuses theme comes from a series of sketches made in my poetry book late 2006. During this time I constantly drew images of a girl surrounded by, strangled by snakes, while lotuses rained on her. I’m not sure how I hit upon these symbols – they evolved from my mental state then. I felt strangled, choked slowly insidiously by everything and the everyday around me (snakes?). In this dark time I found in my poetry, in the act of drawing and in the everyday, small glimpses of beauty, hope and light (lotuses?). Yep I think all this was during the process of my agonisingly slow break-up with Abhi.

Snakes & Lotuses 2 is just in its very first stage. I work directly on the canvas with paint. The girl in pink – shrouded in a saree stares out at the world with her lotus eyes. Her demons (snakes) that will surround her is yet to come in. Again a work-in-progress.


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  • Wow arch!
    such a different feel to these works then the previous ones. I love that you’ve started to work with paint.
    These are great pieces. I really love them. I also just dig the symbolism.
    Nice composition, and nice use of colour. I love the snakes around the lamp – looks like textiles to me. Also reminds me of Henri Rousseau and Frida Kahlo. Just the sense of it. The hidden world in the painting.
    I actually think maybe you should look at some of these artist’s works.. there is so much depth and symbolism, and colour in their work. Its like you’re choking on them..good choking!
    I love looking at this new work, and that itself says the work is a success to me.
    I also love the girl. Very madonna like and almost reminiscent of the paintings done in the middle ages. The rawness and power of it.
    I cant wait to see the others and to see how you have combined words with your images. I think you are on the right track. Everything looks great, and its super inspiring! Nice going!!

  • Hey Arcna, great work. I love your colors and the textures you have achieved. The face looks intense deep and how you have described your state… ha ha.
    Also lamp work is very interesting, and yes, the snake looks like a design. I think if you could develop the snake in its natural state… the thickness, the texture… the work would appear more intense and unique…
    I really like them… great going. I am glad you are painting your sketches.
    what size are they?

  • Girls – i have finally managed to add in the Flashlight Duo. Sorry it took this long.
    pooj – thanks da. It has been a fun thing to trip out and go off into my little fantasy world in paint. Im particularly glad that the the idea of a hidden world, in shadows has come across even slightly. I really was trying to go after that with S&L2 especially.
    I did go and look at Rousseau and Kahlo and its in our Scrapbook. I really like them both! Especially the way Kahlo takes her self-portraits into another dimension with symbolic elements. In fact my next paintings will be a series of self-portraits.
    Nirodh – i like your advice about treating the snake more realistically. I wonder how that might be…personally i had thought of it, but shied away from it so as to allow the snake to look like a shadowy parallel world. not form this world so to speak. dont know if it was all that successful, but that was the motive. also i do like using the snake like a motif – its a lovely graphical, textily element 😀