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  Contemporary Indian Art and its Crazy Wisdom

India is a land reverberating with the sound of conch shells and drumbeats accompanying the roll of mantras chanted by gurus, god men and con men. It is the land of the divine cow, monkey and snake. It is here where the enchanted walk on hot coals of fire and hang their flesh on hooks for redemption. Here is a people who have lassoed the spirit and let it roam on land; a people who walk amongst god men- god men being those humans who have tasted godliness-our gurus, masters, saints...

Is blind Faith the Crazy Wisdom behind these transcendental spaces, or is it a hard earned faith that arises from the ashes of sadhana? Whatever be it, Indian Art too shall reflect this myriad journey of mankind from the gross to the subtle and way beyond- From down to earth titles like 'Cat' or a 'View of Benares' to more subtle and thought provoking ones like 'Going Going, Gone' or 'Dream Machine' and 'Afternoon Sacrifice. But she stands at the crossroads now, this divine cow, overloaded and swaying under layers of an undying past, shaking her thick skin to shed the flies that keep mounting on her! The past as is its nature keeps rejuvenating itself, pouring itself into new wine bottles for public consumption. The new wine bottle is called 'Contemporary.' And contemporariness itself needs to be shaken away and overcome as part of on ongoing journey of strip tease the artist indulges in whether as part of 'life' or 'art.' Only the package differs. Art is borrowed wealth, just a layer of 'life' in a glamorous package.

Contemporary means current. Life is always current-within and without. Death is the past. If so contemporariness should be as diverse as its participants. Just like India that houses varied customs, culture and religion; her art too must reflect her people's joyous moments towards the self, respecting individual journeys and shying away from trends. What is heartening is that Contemporary Indian Art is inclusive; she encompasses the dizzying leaps of her artists. My journey as an artist, as a human through the medium of paintings will reflect the intoxicating spaces I discover in my attempt to sit with the gods- to claim my rightful place.


Anuradha Nalapat - anunalapat@gmail.com