Jyotirgamay – Towards Light: an exhibition of Indian paintings

The first thing that strikes you are the colours. Different hues of orange and blue dance flirt with each other on the canvas.

The colours beckon and invite you to look at Maldives through the eyes of an Indian painter.

‘Jyotirgamay-towards light’ is an exhibition by Shashi Thakur.

“I’ve captured everything I feel about this country and painted it on canvas,” says the jovial Shashi.

Maldives on different mediums

Shashi’s vision of Maldives is beautifully captured using different mediums. Oil on canvas brings alive a scene of boduberu. Two men dance with wild abandon, their feyli vivid, the white strips striking, their red shirts wirls while the sea behind whirls.

The sand seems to shift beneath their feet, two herons dancing in rhythm.

A surfer rides in the midst of a surf wave. The brush strokes flow from underneath him and cocoons him in its midst.

“I used Indian ink on formica here, the ink is almost transparent on the smooth surface and there’s a flow to it,” she explains.

Shashi feels that despite the diversity of medium used there is a unity in the paintings.

In Shashi’s paintings the sea churns, swirls, raises – and it’s never far off. Her signature style – quick brush strokes using one colour and mixing them straight on the canvas – gives a zigzag feel to each line.

She has painted fishermen. The entire painting is in blue different hues of it. The fishermen reel in the fish, while the sea swirls and blue arches emanate from a light source on the horizon.

“With the emergence of the glorious sun, I also emerge but unwillingly, from beloved sea,” reads one of the lyrical captions by the Indian High Commissioner, Dnyanesshwar M Mulay, adding a poetic dimension to the paintings.

“The paintings are full of the vibrancy of longing, surging, churning and convergence that enrich life and its process” says Mulay of Shashi’s paintings.

Shashi says the act of painting is almost like a meditation for her, “I’m searching for light, when I with my canvas, I am going towards light.”

Light is very much present in her paintings. Either as a white bird in flight in a painting of a women caught between the surging waves and the orange horizon in front. Or the light that emanates from the surface of all her underwater paintings.

Demonstrating painting to visitors
Demonstrating painting to visitors
Interestingly enough, Shashi has never dived, or snorkeled.

“Luckily here you can stand chest deep in water and still see beautiful corals,” says Shashi, who is planning a dive in the underwater submarine to finally see underwater beauty in all its glory.

Art scene in the Maldives

“Artists all over the world are the same, when I meet other artists I feel like they are my soul mates.”

Among Maldivian painters, Shashi says she particularly likes the works of Suja and Mariyam Omar: “I am fascinated with Mariyam’s style, and her use of coffee in her paintings.”

Shashi has a work in progress, at the art gallery. When art students come by she shows her signature style and lets them try on the canvas: “When they try they know how easy or difficult it is.”

Plans are afoot to bring a group of Indian painters to Maldives in the near future.

“I want them to stay in Maldives for a while and paint this country in their own style,” she says.

She rues the fact that paintings are bought from abroad to adorn walls here.

“Mr Mulay will be conducting an auction of the paintings on the 20th night of this month,” she says, hoping this will encourage more businessmen to buy paintings straight from the painter.

Some of the proceeds will be donated to charity.

Viewed through the paintings of Shashi, the Maldives is a diverse colorful place bursting with energy and beauty.

Jyotirgamay-Towards Light will be held in in National Art Gallery until 22 July 2010. The gallery will be open from 11:15 till 16:00 & 20:00 till 22:30 on weekdays.


9 thoughts on “Jyotirgamay – Towards Light: an exhibition of Indian paintings”

  1. Ms Aishath Shazra, why don't you tell us what is happenning in the Maldivian political arena?

    These art galleries and paintings can wait. Or may be perhaps they can take be the desert. But there are more important news in the political arena that actually takes the place of the main course.

    How about suggesting to the government to promote art in Maldives. May be they can cool down with the colours and paint brushes.

  2. @Rocket: Why does EVERYTHING need to be politicized!? That is the problem with this country. Everyone is involved in politics 24/7! I appreciate that Shazra has taken time to inform us about an artistic event in our country. We need art, literature and other cultural activities if we are to survive as a human society.

  3. Minivannews is a bloody joke now. Country is in chaos and President Nasheed has taken over as the new dictator, but headline news in Minivan is an Indian photo exhibition.

  4. i think the point that the above commentators are trying to put across is that, it would help everyone concerned, if there was a point to this article.

  5. @ Name Required

    "Why does EVERYTHING need to be politicized!?"

    Now, go read what POLITICIZED means and then read what I said here. May be then you will understand what I said. And if you don't, never mind.

    Minivan News boasts that it is the "FIRST FOR INDEPENDENT NEWS IN THE MALDIVES."

    The country is brimming with news because of the chaos in the political scene. So I expect to know something about the country's most recent status from Minivan News. But all Minivan News is reporting on is dengue fever and an Indian art exhibition.

    Dengue fever and art exhibitions may be news, but at this juncture in the Maldivian turmoil, they are certainly not what I would expect on the front pages of news papers or websites that are the "first for news."

    Such news items may satisfy the WHO or may be the Indians, but as a Maldivian who reads Minivan News to know what is happenning in our beautiful country, I am more thirsty to know of the progresses or reconciliations made between the political sources.

    Its not that it is just politics that interests me. Had the country been plagued by anything else also, I would have been hungry to know the status. It is bad politics that is plaguing the country now, that is why I suggested Shazra to "tell us what is happenning in the Maldivian political arena."

    I don't mind Minivan news reporting on dengue fever or art exhibitions. But I do mind that a website that is supposedly the "FIRST FOR INDEPENDENT NEWS IN THE MALDIVES" is not bringing to us the real news, but asking to divert our attention to something that would be otherwise hardly noticeable.

  6. i think minivan is doing a great job.certainly better than our local newspapers who have never had the courage to analyse anything ever.congrats for bringing the news of this extraordianry art exhibitiion at a time when my country seems to have lost imagination and character.can we learn soething from the art?

  7. Maldivians are working towards becoming a civilized nation, civilization requires culture, culture based on three basic aspects and the most abundant of them happen to be High Culture - an excellent taste in Fine Arts and Humanities.

    So I suppose art is required for us to become a civilization.. 🙂

    Nothing against anyone, just my thought with a little help from Wikipedia.

  8. when is this website planning on advertising the events IN ADVANCE! and not after they are already in place and even passed!
    how difficult is it to have an additional column on the left side with "Upcoming Events" there? instead of writing reviews on something that has already started but no one has heard of yet.
    Ridiculous Public Relationship management!

  9. Respect for Art & culture is sign of a settled nation.

    Life is not all about earning dollars.

    Haven't heard of any Maldivian putting up an exhibition here in Nagpur.


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