Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Flame of the Forest

"Flame of the Forest" might be a romantic sounding name, but don't forget, it's also called Bastard Teak, lol.

The beauty of the dry deciduous forests of India reaches the peak when most trees have dropped their leaves, and the Flame of the Forest is in its full bloom.

Some of you might be interested to know that spoons made of this tree are used for ghee-oblations, and in the days before matchboxes, the bark of this tree was lit and used to start the daily agnihotram at sunrise and sunset.

Because the tree is indigenous to India, it finds mention in many literary sources, from vedas to love poetry.

If you've heard about the Battle of Plassey - where the English defeated the Nawab of Bengal - that comes from Palash, the Bengali word for this tree.

Tagore chose the Palash to celebrate the basanta ustsav at Santiniketan. See that little curved hook on the flower? Like Santhali women, you too can use the hook to tuck the flower behind your ear as you walk the lanes of Santiniketan.

Photo clicked by yours truly, in Ranthambhore. You can also spot these trees in Delhi, in the Central Ridge, or at Qutb Complex, or near the Kalkaji temple.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Bhil art at the Delhi Magic office

About 6 months ago, I went to the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya in Bhopal, which in my view is the best tribal art museum in India. I was admiring the work in the Bhil art section, when I met the artist himself, Ram Singh Bhabor. We got chatting and I eventually talked him into coming to Delhi, to do a mural in our office.

Ram Singh Bhabor is from the Jhabua district in Madhya Pradesh, which has many tribals. His work has been displayed in many major government museums and folk art galleries including the Manav Sanghralay in Bhopal, Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal, and also in the tribal museum in Mysore. He has exhibited his work in Dehradun and Bhubaneswar as well. He is in fact, the grand-nephew of the famous Bhil artist Bhuri Bai. Ram Singh has been interested in drawing from a very young age, and has been painting on canvas since 2010.

Here are pictures of the work in progress in our office.
Each painting is composed of thousands of dots, creating different patterns. The dots are arranged to make patterns of animals, trees, birds, deities, daily life, and mythological figures.

Waiting to see what else he does. I think it will take at least one more day to finish it.