Four creatures, owl, lizard, crab and snake, whose natural abodes are a tree, wall, water and hole, have nothing in common except that they all love darkness and are its friends. Owl, lizard and even snake remain hidden during the day and roam freely during the night. Crab, a creature of water, fears daylight.
A lovely creature, the little dog turns back to ascertain if the call made from behind is for it. Legs’ forward thrust, subdued back and raised neck correspond exactly to its mental state. For underlining the role of eye the artist has magnified it using around it a dual blue ring, and to portray the agitation in the mind, a texture of red laced beads. Arpana requested Janagarh to leave the rest of the figure free of details which makes this look very contemporary. Janagarh was the father of a whole school of painting, the pioneer whose tragic suicide in Japan due to exploitation by a middleman reflects the vulnerability of these artists in front of market forces. The current Gond artists including his relatives are ardent followers of his unique style and his legacy.
A creature of the mythical world, the portrayed figure blends many animal forms from a tiger to a donkey. Such mythical animal forms, usually identified as Shardulas, have voluminous presence in Indian sculptures, though in medieval painting their presence is negligible. With its variegating colour effects this mythicised animal has a more cute and strange look.
This colourfully conceived image of a tiny flying machine reveals a childlike curiosity which a tribal or villager usually has for an aircraft. He sometimes perceives it as a huge bird, something like Lord Vishnu’s Garuda, and sometimes as gods’ ‘vimanas’ - flying chariots, of which he has been hearing in mythical narratives. As if composed of colourful beads the aircraft combines in its form a bird, a royal chariot’s gorgeous look, and a machine and, above all, a curious mind.
With a tiny machine with just two gusts of gases charging at two human beings, this ink sketch seeks to scale, and quite correctly, the massive gas tragedy of Bhopal. It is the same as the Union Carbide factory confining to a few acres land area but its killer fangs extending to miles sparing neither the higher ones nor the common masses, the two figures representing society’s different levels as also different directions.
A versatile concept, the motif represents an aircraft but as much a boat, and a bird and as much a fish – a thing of the sky and as much of the sea. Notably, all passengers riding it are women suggestive of women gaining new heights, whether by spanning space or by exploring the unfathomable ocean, and whether as a bird or a fish.
This form of the four-armed Ganesh is unique in its innovation. In two of the four arms he is carrying a trident and a serpent, while of the other two, emerging from his waist, one is a transform of a goad, and another, is in the gesture of ‘abhaya’. Not a crown or headdress, his long thick blue hair adorns his head. His mount mouse is under him but he is not riding it. He is seated on a semi-circular ribbed structure which also symbolises his lower half.
Here is a bullock cart carrying two persons on it. As against the overall used green, the red colour used for the figures on the cart often symbolising some kind of emergency, something which the excited action of the cart driver and his pedestrian helper further affirms, suggest that the figures on the cart are emergency cases requiring immediate treatment.
Amazingly innovative, this form of Ganesh is a blend of the Master and his mount, and even the form of the mouse, the mount, except its tail, is more like a frog. Simply an elephant trunk, larger than normal, usually mounted on a human torso with any number of arms, four, six, eight or more, in the Ganapati imagery, has been mounted here direct on the body of the mouse, though even the identity of the mouse is established from its tail and tail’s characteristic behavior. Figure’s mischievous eyes and large winnowing basket-like ears re-affirm the identity of Ganesh.
Simply an elephant trunk, larger than normal, usually mounted on a human torso with any number of arms, four, six, eight or more, in the Ganapati imagery, has been mounted here direct on the body of the mouse, though even the identity of the mouse is established from its tail and tail’s characteristic behavior.