A tree is one of the most sacred motifs of folk art. In addition to its inherent sacredness the artist has added to the form of this tree the auspicious motif of an elephant. With trunks on both sides this elephant form is more auspicious. The tree seems to rise over the elephant. Apart, birds and devotee figures flanking around impart to it further sanctity.
Arpana requested Pandeyji to visualize a tree as a woman. Composed of a tree or a couple of them, a woman, and two mythical-looking birds, the painting displays great formal as well as thematic unity. While the woman figure seems to comprise an aspect of the tree-trunk the two birds appear to comprise its apex. The blunt top of the tree-trunk turns for the birds into their feeding vessel.
The painting represents Lord Vishnu as Balaji, his most celebrated form in South, but it is more characteristically his Kurma – tortoise form. The green-black body texture apart, the deity’s face has been styled like one of the tortoise and as of the tortoise are his four legs stretching into four corners. It is a magnificent blend of two forms.
The painting seems to aim at portraying three levels of life, the deity, the devotee, and the seekers of delight. An Enlightened One – a Buddha, one beyond colours, constitutes the background for all, for the deity as also for the devotee and seekers of delight. With light transfused forms transform from a human organ into a building part and vice versa, and those bowing or prostrating in worship, or twisting in jubilation, are alike the seekers of light.
Except some variation in the appearance of the viper all four panels, into which the painting is divided, portray an identical theme of the fight between a viper and a dragon. Aja-i-bal Makhluqat, a Persian book of nature’s wonders, exceptionally popular in India during 18th -19th centuries, was the source of such themes.
The painting portrays some major acts of terror that shook the world with panic during the past decade. Two multi-storeyed red structures are towers of World Trade Centre, New York, which in a terror attack two aircrafts had destroyed killing hundreds of people working there. The circular building on the left is Indian Parliament which too was subjected to a terror attack. Around it is the aircraft which with over hundred-fifty passengers on board was hijacked to Kandhara. All around are guns, explosions, eyes full of tears and scenes of devastation, and the cruel face of terror frames it from all sides.