An Art Portfolio from South India

This post is long overdue.  Gerard and I left India on January 19th and headed to Northern Thailand.  We are getting settled in at Warm Heart near Chiang Mai and will post about that next.

I looked through the photos I wanted to post for our last chapter in India and I saw a distinct theme, art.  Ancient art, modern art, things created by master temple artists and things we created ourselves. Enjoy!

Every morning, South Indian women make kolims in front of their houses.  They use powdered chalk that they ever so skillfully and rapidly roll between thumb and forefinger to make their design on the pavement.  Sometimes they grid out with a set of dots but many are so good they just create their designs, a different one each day, from their heads.  Most of the year, they draw with white but the colors come out around the holidays (so many in January).  The one seen below was for a special full-moon celebration.  Tiny oil lamps are placed on the design and lit after dark.  Entire neighborhoods were lit this way for three nights in a row.

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To launch my TLC/Hygiene Booster Project for the Bakery , I started with refreshing the paint.  After doing the outside (everything gets dirty so fast with the dirt from the road coming up all the time), Amelie volunteered to paint a Ganesh Bakery sign.  The way the building sits, folks coming from the road head for the corner of the building so we made our Ganesh face out from the corner. Everybody loved the design and it made it so much easier to know when you had arrived.

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The outside toilet was seriously refreshed with a coat of paint and a few stenciled flowers.  So many people thanked me for this one – seems everyone who works in the neighborhood uses this toilet.

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A young Israeli volunteer painted this on the inside of the bakery after it was painted.

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Right near where we lived was one of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen.

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Ganesh is a very popular figure in South India, one of the best known Hindu deities, the “Remover of Obstacles.”

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On our visa run to the Thai Consulate in Chennai, Gerard and I took a few days to see a historic site along the beach, Mahabalipurim.  It is an interesting tourist spot with 7th century temples, elaborate caves and carvings and a few bovine sunbathers (see the temple in the background).

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On our last trip over to Matrikunj, the farm where Amelie has been living and working, her boss and mentor, Baburam shared his handmade tools and the basic forge his dad uses to make just about everything they need.  Third photo down shows a very clever drill that turns by pulling a cord. This is art!

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Christmas day was very low key for us this year.  Amelie helped me get this mandala started on our front gate, our gift to the neighborhood.  The schoolchildren were very interested in what I was doing with my stencils and paint.  It’s six feet across.

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Also did a small design for Amudha’s mother.  Can you imagine a more beautiful photo; she looks just like the design, same colors and everything.

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Pongal is an important multi-day festival mid-January focusing on cows.  Cows are revered in India and are not eaten by Hindus.  Everyone cleans up and decorates their cows for this festival;  at this event they used as much creativity as they could muster.

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My neighbor’s daughter came over near the end to make us a beautiful kolim.  You can see our front patio where we often ate our meals.

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The end of this portfolio.  I collect photos of bird art and found this outside someone’s house.  This kind of decoration is very typical.  Colorful art everywhere you look.

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Thailand has stunning countryside and great food, more about that next post.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Judy Larson
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 22:30:05

    So happy to get your post today! You are leaving your mark wherever you go! The art is such a beautiful outward display of your shared experience! I imagine you guys whirling through like a breath of fresh air and light! xo J

    Reply

  2. Eric and Beth Lepire
    Mar 16, 2013 @ 17:21:53

    Soo impressed with your artwork. I have a bathroom that needs a fresh coat of paint as well. Although we miss you guys and think of you both often, we don’t need to worry that you’re not happy. You are definitely leaving a mark on the world, a beautiful one.

    Reply

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