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CO-RELATIONS OF ASPECTS IN ART

Streaks of golden lightning flicker over soft clouds in shades of grey in deepening twilight and Radha's fragile form softly contrasts against the dark background. The uncertain heart on the way of eternal tryst between the loved and the beloved, manifests in the nature.
The total picture in fine decorative miniature recalls the lines of Vidyapati, "At twilight, the form of the precious lady contrasts against the dark background just as a streak of lightning contrasts against the new rain cloud."
The above description is just one example of the co-relation between different aspects of art.
Art is a word of multi-dimensional contours and it penetrates deeper into consciousness than most other emotions in existence and in a more subtle way.
The difference in the way of expression of emotions has created distinct different forms in the sphere of art.
An able intelligent animal that has attained certain physical and psychological abilities through the process of evolution, such as man. may express his emotions in creative forms in vocal and linguistic aspects as well as in non-verbal ways.
It is most interesting to note that different dimensions of art are very much co-related in their forms of expression and theme.
One form often serves as the basis of expression that provides the structural base for another form of art.
To quote an example-Dance and music from the paleolithic age has provided each other with structural support enabling a single or a group of people to create a "bhava" or an emotional entity.
Very often, without that support in the physical structure of expression, the "bhava" would not assume its desired proportion. Even paleolithic and Mesolithic men of hunting community used cave and sand illustrations of various sorts to give visual representation to vocal expression of their thoughts, thus creating a very firm bond of co-relation between different aspects of art.
Not only to emphasize his words and written languages, man through out the ages, has used painting, sculpturing and other visual arts in a closely related way to serve many purposes concerning instructions and decorations.
Before going deep into this point, we must always remember, that just any expression of creativity is not art.
To be worthy of being called art, a piece of work must attain a certain standard of aesthetic excellence in visual forms.
This inspiration, indeed knows no bond of time, life and place. A piece of art produced at certain period of time, is apt to be appreciated by those capable of enjoying that piece of art, even in other periods and from different cultural environments.
The words of Bhavabhuti come to the mind, "if any like minded person is born, he would appreciate me. for time is eternal and world is wide".
The influence of inspiration from a certain piece of art. may produce different forms in separate social environments.
The epics have influenced artists throughout the ages to produce countless pieces of two and three dimensional forms.
Barriers of religion, creed and region fade away before the force of appreciation.
Jayadeva wrote the "Gita Govinda" in Bengal and the illustrations of this superb work were made in Rajasthan at a later age.
Distance of age and environment did not prevent the manifestation of "rasa"' in different artistic forms.
In fact, the flow of "rasa" or feeling was able to perpetuate throughout the ages in the successful representation of the poems in pictorial forms.
Very often, without successful representation in other forms of art one form of art would not find the solid mass base in society, which is a must for the survival of that particular form.
The epics survived with massive bases in human hearts allowing a very forceful mass-appeal, through their representation in other forms of art. Countless renderings through the dance and drama made it possible to form the popular base of folk literature in every country in the world.
The folk literature traveled from land to land in the course of human migration and the dramatic and pictorial forms differed in their representations creating diversity in emotional impact.
Certain literature can inspire folk and classical forms of art both giving wider dimensions in different levels of appreciation in many social stages.
Manuscripts were designed and decorated by illuminators ever since the olden times. Illustrations accompanying scripts and enforcing their message on stone, on metal, on leaves, on paper, on leather or on cloth are found in different ages ever since man started expressing himself in scripto-verbal and pictorial forms. In fact the scripts owe their existence to pictorial forms and are very often modified pictographs. The Hieroglyphics, Chinese characters, and Cuniform writings are modified pictorial symbols.
The immense work on illustrations done throughout the ages, testfy man's understanding of the growing demand of the accompaniment of art with literature and has created an inseparable affinity art and literature,
In the sphere of public instruction through two dimensional and three dimensional means the relation of art and literature has been ever growing and has greater possibilities in future.
The need of the co-relation of art and literature stands as valid today as in the days when wall-paintings accompanied scripts in ancient Egypt. Certain factors are to be noted when appreciating the relation between literary and visual arts in a certain region. The peculiarities and qualities of creative expression of any region reflect in visual and literary arts both.
As example we can say that suggestive forms with the economy of expression is found in many forms of Japanese art and Japanese poetry too.
The grandeur of classical Sanskrit literature find a perfect counter part in sculptures and paintings of classical school of ancient India.
Thus we find that the cultural heritage of every civilization has its own traits in literature, visual arts, music and dance.
In the field of education, the pictures illustrating the subject, themselves educate and help in giving a visual representation of the matter to be taught.
For children, illustrated literature has opened up a whole new world of knowledge and enjoyment in every language and in all countries. When one reads or listens to literature one likes to visualize the scene one is reading or listening to, and pictures related to the text help to visualize by guiding the imageries with concrete information. In fact without illustration many a book would have little or no impact to the reader.
Vocal folk literature is also often related to folk art and we can cite the example "Phad" painting of Rajasthan and the songs that go with them.
Performing arts such as dance, drama etc. also influence visual arts in massive way. We can cite the example of countless paintings and sculptures made ever since men started depicting dancers on cave walls. Visual arts enriched and widened the flow of performing arts with many exotic creations such as postures of lyrical beauty showings the "mudras" giving dynamic representation of static matters such as stone, metal, wood or ivory. Without the inspiration from performing arts most of the lyrical enchantment in visual arts would not have existed. The diversity of styles which were influenced by performing arts ranges from wall and cave-painting in hoary past to ballerinas, by Degas,
Visual arts also flourished and still flourishes as supplement to the performing arts such as scene painting, stage decoration, costume designing, special effects work, and many other jobs of the art designer in shows.
An important point to remember, in the study of co-relation of aspects of arts is that the same "rasa" or the impact of the mood, in abstract form finds its "adhara" or the concrete form in many shapes allowing a sensitive-mind to appreciate different aspects of art.
Prabal Pramanik

 

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The word "Pahari" means something to do with hills. Yet, "Pahari Art" has a definite connotation as far as the schools of art are concerned.
The area from Jammu to Garwal in Northern area in India is important in the development of certain art styles since seventeenth century.
The old Himachal region like Lahul, Spiti, Kinnor and adjoined area had different schools or styles of art that was similar to the art in Ladakh and Tibet and was chiefly influenced by Buddhism.
The regions that included Basholi in Jammu to Kangra, Nurpur, Chamba, Guler, and even some areas of Garwal had a different developmental history as far as artistic styles are concerned and these styles were inspired by the opaque miniature painting styles of Rajasthan and also by the court painting styles of Mughal Darbar, that was influenced by Persian miniature styles.
Needs, social, political and economic prompts human beings to migrate from one area to another.
When people migrate, their art and culture migrate with them. Culture, except in certain primitive and aboriginal societies is a blend of several traits that amalgamate at different time periods.
Natural environment, social situations and value systems mould and remould the cultural presentations at every phase of human history.
When the artists from the plains came, seeking patronization and protection at the courts of hill chieftains and rulers, the environment, flora and fauna and the costumes of the hill areas influenced their artworks.
Yet their art works retained and developed the styles of painting they had brought with them. The changes in the styles created new schools of art.
Moreover, each school of art, specializing in certain styles, were propagated by the master artists who tought their pupils in the stylistic forms that they had learnt and developed.
Not only the area where schools of art remould and develop is significant but also the value system and the faith of the artists and of the patrons of the concerned art schools are important.
The tastes and demands of those patrons influenced the subjective matter of the paintings.
The artists were painting in a manner that was undoubtedly appreciated by the society oriented by traditional values and when the schools of art were developed by these migrant artists and their pupils, perhaps they never thought that they were creating a new chapter in the history of art.
My own introduction to Pahari Schools of Art came early in British Museum, in London, U.K. when I repeatedly visited the gallery of Indian miniture paintings there with my mother Dr. Kalyani Pramanik.
Mother explained the philosophy of these charming art works on small formats to me in a lucid manner.
I was a boy of ten at that time when I lived in London with my mother Dr. Kalyani Pramanik who was studying for her Ph.D degree at London University.
That collection of Pahari paintings is one of the best I have ever seen and I still remember many of them as well as the wonderful time I spent with my mother there at the gallery in British Museum.
I developed a deep attachment with this kind of miniature paintings, as it appealed to my culture and I found the style of opaque decorative work in great detail very much impressive.
Many times I visited that gallery with my mother and her guidence proved to be important in developing my aesthetic sense concerning the miniature paintings.
Those paintings opened up a new and wonderful world for me, a world I loved to travel in my mind, experiencing new sights and marvelling at a life of a different age with its set of values. Each painting opened a door to that world from a different side, revealing glimpses of lingering mysterious images that dissolved the barrier between past and present.
I am reliving those moments now as I am writing these lines. Those moments witnessed the fulfilment of a circle of appreciation between a boy and some artists who lived and worked long ago in a different world, a world that had lived on through their art, conveying their messages over the centuries.
For a sensitive soul, these paintings with immense details on miniature formats revealed moods and melodies of magic and mystry of a bygone era.
It is a surialistic effect in decorative details the miniature painting in Pahari school of olden times imparts to the recipent soul. The copymasters of later ages can never realize the true surialistic feeling of the old time master artists.
These paintings reflect the philosophy long lost in the hill society and it would be a futile effort to search for such sensitive souls who created the original compositions in Pahari Art.
My articles on Pahari art bring back personal memories with my mother in British Museum and her discussions about these schools of art.
The moods of the child who was destined to be an artist himself, lost in wonder in that gallery are recreated in these articles.
I have tried to analize Pahari Schools of art in an impartial way, appreciating this form of art while being conscious of its limitations.
I have presented in these articles what I think as my own truthful views, and I stick to my own viewpoints as they are my own.
These articles are concerned with the aesthetic aspects of Pahari Schools of art.
I do not dwell on the history of this art more than its necessary to do so to analize the aesthetic points.
Neither do I present the geneology of the artists of these Schools. The articles present my own personal aesthetic appreciation of Pahari art schools and I think my personal views may enrich the sphere of aesthetic appreciation in some aspects.

Prabal Pramanik
(from the published book "My views on Pahari paintings")
ISBN No. 978-93-81200-03-2

 

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Preface

The story of mankind is a saga of change. Life-styles and values have changed throughout the ages in every society except in certain primitive ones.
The change has been a continuous process and this process has been direct or indirect.
Whether the changes have come through social upheavals, revolutions or through the rebirth of a society, the changes have been brought about by the spread of new ideas. These new ideas have challenged many of the old ideas and concepts, and in many instances have established new social orders.
As time went on, new thoughts and ideas came confronting the established orders again and different chapters in the annals of humankind opened creating new ages.
Always new ideas brought about the changes. Ideas that challenged the old order, ideas that have the strength to create new rationale and new cultural eras are vital in human history.
The base of all the changes is the human factor, and the dimension of the change depended on the spread of the new ideas amongst the people.
With the spread of education and emancipative movements the changes become more rapid.
Globalization brought about by information technology and media explosion made the changes much more rapid and widened the base of the movements immensely.
People pressurized by dictatorships and single party rule, have started demanding freedom of speech and political freedom.
People oppressed by corrupt systems have started to demand accountability from those in power.
The spread of social consciousness amongst the common people have created a unique factor in socio-political arena.
The common people are emerging as a key factor that is pushing back powerful dictators and corrupt politicians.
The spread of consciousness is helping to fight pollution and global warming.
The spread of consciousness is becoming the most potent weapon against the evil elements in powerful positions.
The old economic order is failing, and the future will see the growth of a new and better economic order. We are at a crucial juncture of time.
This is a global phenomenon and not just a localized one.
A definite change in the value system is a must if the humankind is to survive.
Consumerism created and propagated by big business organizations is connected to negative political systems that form harmful nexus with the big money businessmen in an unscrupulous way.
Inconsiderate life styles of illusionary and undue desires fuelled by greed lead to economic disbalance and dishonesty. So, a change in the values and life styles is necessary.
Somehow or other, one negative issue leads to other negative situations that endanger social, economical and environmental balance in a serious manner.
These problems have been discussed in the illuminating articles of this book and I tried to convey my message in a clear manner.
Those who dare to dream of a better world are facing challenges and taking risks, and more people are joining the movements inspite of the harsh pressures created by the negative force.
The propaganda of lies and hypocrisies created by the evil elements is being challenged by the people who have started to demand accountability from those in powerful positions.
The spread of the positive consciousness for greater sensitivity is the most important factor at this point of time.
Internet is aiding this work on a world wide scale. The development of technology has brought media into common person’s reach.
The undercurrents in societies all over the world have already started important changes in the value system.
My essays are about these vital issues. As I live in India many problems I have written about are in India but affect other places of the world too.
I believe, that when the credibility of the politicians has eroded away in the eyes of the people in general, and the common man cannot expect many of the politicians and a large percentage of government officials to be really honest and accountable with due transparency, the only way for better and tolerable living conditions for the common people who want to live in an honest corruption free society, is through the spread of the positive message that would help to counter corruption and help to create values for proper consideration for the mankind and the planet.
Socio-political problems are inter-linked, and such problems affect the economic and environmental situations too.
I have tried to analyze the problems in holistic manner. Finally as human beings are of different mental setups, my essays are likely to have different impacts on different people, yet the spread of general consciousness is necessary.
With that aim in mind I am writing and publishing the essays.
Prabal Pramanik

 

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Shadows of Clouds on the Hills
By Prabal Pramanik

Published by Orient Book Company, Bhamlada, Punjab, India
ISBN No. : 978-81-89801-91-5

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Shadows of Clouds on the Hills by Prabal Pramanik

An introduction to Poems of Bhamlada

It is night time and there had just been a brisk shower outside. I hear the sound of dripping water and the rhythmic yet loud metallic percussion of different insects at their nocturnal vigil with an occasional shaking of a loose window pane.
Bhamlada has like any other place, its own atmosphere. This atmosphere retains its character through changes in season and weather.
I have tried to recreate the atmosphere of this place of overflowing scenic beauty of many moods through my lines. Like on-the-spot paintings, these lines were directly inspired by the atmosphere of the moment, and are poetic presentations of the ambience of certain moments at Bhamlada, the little village in the foot hills of Western Himalayas in the border of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab in India.
This small book is illustrated lavishly with colourful photographs of Bhamlada by Shri Arup Chandra.
The pen and ink drawings were made at Bhamlada by myself.

Prabal Pramanik
Bhamlada
November, 2010

 

 

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Mera Kabuliwala
By Priya Anand

Published by Orient Book Company, Bhamlada, Punjab, India
ISBN No. : 978-81-89801-97-7

 

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Reflective Poetry
The Distant Call,
Dreams and Illusions
By Prabal Pramanik

Published by Orient Book Company, Bhamlada, Punjab, India
ISBN No. : 978-81-89801-90-8

 

 

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