This April, is the 4th anniversary for BBC Good Homes, the Interiors Magazine in India. And they have gone all out, in redoing the entire layout of their magazine. And in keeping with the celebratory theme in mind, they asked a few designers and artists from across the country, whether we felt strongly enough about the magazine to give them a birthday ‘gift’.
I did. I think it’s a great magazine and my interaction with them over the last year has been one of great joy. I have had the opportunity to work with some of their editors earlier on, when they were not with the magazine as well as with some who I met for the first time. And they have all been an absolute delight to interact with.
I want to say thank you to Avril and Seema for being so generous in their praise for my work. And so much more than just a thank you, to Meenakshi, for showing me the way when I seemed rudderless, and keeping me rooted even when I wanted to go ‘off the handle’!! And more importantly, thank you for pointing out the places when you thought some of my output was not up to the mark. That was truly constructive criticism…and that always helps.
Here is the piece that I gifted to them. You can see the step-by-step progress pictures here.
This painting is based on a Theyyam dancer from Kerala.
For me personally, the last two years have been a period of immense growth, both emotionally and spiritually. I have had many ‘profound experiences‘, seen joy, sadness, betrayal, death and love. Through this piece I wanted to communicate the many layers in life and the many facets to me. I believe that both heaven and hell are experienced right here on earth. And the greatest gift of divinity that one can get in life is to believe in one self. Divinity lies in me.
The team at BBC Good Homes has been a constant source of strength to me personally as an artist. My interactions with the writers and editors has allowed me the confidence to experiment and know that my voice, as long as it comes from a place of honesty, will always be heard. That belief is a huge motivator for any artist. And I am privileged to be in such nurturing hands.
As a theme, Theyyam lends itself well to artistic interpretations. By it’s very nature, it brings forth goodwill to those in its presence and promises to ward off evil. What better gift could I have given BBC Good Homes on their 4th anniversary as they grow and take new directions?
I am honored to be part of this family and will always wish it well with success and grandeur beyond measure
Theyyam is an artistic dance form where metaphysical thoughts and expressions of immortal souls are impersonated by a believer through a mortal body. Theyyam originated from “Kaliyattam” once practiced by the tribal community of north Kerala. Theyyam has grown to the present form through many transformations since it’s origin. Landlords and chieftains of those days are the main forces behind many of such transformations. The community and its body began to use this art to propagate the major theme of social enforcement. The artists are also encouraged by the authorities to introduce new themes into its traditional layers and classified different acts and expressions to match specific needs for their desire. The character representations were very broad. They range from mild to wild in representations.
Theyyam is a sect in which old heroes are sanctified and worshiped as the guardians of villages and homes. Yet, it includes a complex universe centered on the belief that a man can—after suitable mental, physical and spiritual preliminaries—don the costume of a particular deity and then become that deity. In this elevated state he assumes superhuman and divine powers—speaking, moving, blessing and even healing as a god or goddess. What is crucial is that the person is not possessed by the spirit of the deity. It’s important to understand that Theyyam has a larger purpose that goes beyond the territories of performance – to all those in attendance, it assures assistance and security during times of crisis, promising to resolve all their conflicts.
You can read about Theyyam here- http://theyyamat.blogspot.in/