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Exhibit

Ardhanarisvara – The God Who is Half-Woman

Siva-ArdhanariswaraThis is among the more esoteric forms of Siva, the destroyer in the Hindu trinity.

Beyond stereotypes, beyond boundaries and frameworks, Siva stands at the periphery of social order. Siva is the eternal ascetic, famed for his excesses, whether in penance and austerities or in sexual vigor. Siva, the intrinsic unpredictability immanent in everything that’s created. Siva, the undifferentiated spirit, the potential from which everything manifests, Purusa, the primordial.

Parvati, the mother goddess, the creatrix, the primal spark which animates all creation, pure energy which when combines with primordial matter spins out all that is created. Parvati is Prakriti, the essence of nature. Parvati is Sakti, the primordial energy. Parvati is Maya, the divine illusion of form the cloaks the essential unity of all creation.

Matter is inert without energy to animate it. Energy is without purpose without matter to animate. Matter is made up of energy. Energy comprises matter. Both within the other, yet both needing the other for meaning. And perhaps to find the ultimate purpose. Ardhanariswara.

What you see here is 18-inches by 24-inches, natural colors on plywood, and a rather unconventional treatment. The traditional approach is to depict with full garments and ornaments, perhaps to capture the deities in the domesticized glory. Whereas here, Siva and Sakti are mendicants, denizens of the forests and the hills, living within and immersed in nature, immersed and enraptured in the meditation that is creation, creating, destroying, blossoming, absorbing, matter contemplating energy, energy animating matter. The eternal tension of dynamic equilibrium.

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Background

Kerala Murals – A Brief History

One could say that the tradition of painting on walls began in Kerala with the pre-historic rock paintings found in the Anjanad Valley of Idukki district. Archaeologists presume that these paintings belong to different periods from the upper Paleolithic period to the Early historic period. Rock engravings dating to the Mesolithic period have also been discovered in two regions of Kerala, at Edakkal in Wayanad and at Perimkadavila in Thiruvananthapuram district.

It is not difficult to trace the roots of the Kerala mural styles to the more ancient Dravidian art of Kalamezhuthu. This was a much more fully developed art form connected with religious rituals. It was [is] a ritual art of sprinkling and filling up different colored powders inside outlines sketched with the powder.

The roots of the extant mural tradition of Kerala could be traced as far back as the 7th and 8th century AD. It is not unlikely that the early Kerala murals along with its architecture came heavily under the influence of Pallava art. The oldest murals in Kerala were discovered in the rock-cut cave temple of Thirunandikkara, which is now in the Kanyakumari district of Tamilnadu.

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Background Blogroll

Welcome!

Greetings and thanks for coming by. This site aspires to be a source of information on the magnificent art of the Kerala temple murals, and also to be a gallery for the mural artist Naveen Bhaskar.

The site is freshly minted at this time, so please bear with us during the construction phase. And the reason we’ve chosen the web-log platform for this site is to invite you to comment, criticize and participate in making this ancient and traditional art-form contemporary, fresh and relevant in the Internet-age.

For now, let us whet your appetite with the mini-gallery.