Today is the first night of navaratri which is holy and auspicious to all Hindus. Here in SA, the Divine Mother Goddess Durga is worshipped in Her three aspects as Mahakaali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati, three nights each during this nine-day celebration. Not only Sri Ramakrishna kept in his room several pictures of Gods and Goddesses but also advised devotees to do so. “Divine feeling is awakened through such pictures” he said. Once he went all the way to see a home of a devotee, hearing that he had a large collection of religious pictures! You can also enjoy seeing one hundred ninety-nine ennobling pictures of Hindu Goddesses, one hundred twenty-seven of which especially on Durga at this Flickr site. The Lord of Durga – Neelakantha Shiva has eleven aspects that are called Rudras. The Shiva puraana speaks about the Eleventh Rudra who incarnates as Sri Hanuman. I am thankful to Simon Ram of UK who gave permission to place a rare picture of Hanumanji with Gauri-Shankar which you can find at the bottom of this post.
The drawing and a write-up on Visual Art Work that is displayed in a box down below, is by one 14 year old school student who regularly attends our Sunday School for Children. Presently this boy is schooling at Ladysmith High School and in Gr.9. His name is Yashteel Raj. He attends the Ramakrishna Centre – Ladysmith branch. He also enjoys reading and learning about Hindu religion through stories like the Ramayana, etc. Recently he wrote to me an email which I reproduce here:
Om Namo Narayanaya Swamiji
It was very good to see you on Saturday after such a long time.
I had to make an artwork about my culture this week and I was so inspired by your talk on Sri Hanumanji that I made a drawing of him carrying the Drona Mountain. I wanted to show you how it looks – I hope you like it.
Mom, Dad and Chiara also send their pranams.
Yes, beta Yashteel, I am immensely pleased to see your art work. Congrats! Indeed, your devotion to Sri Hanumanji has brought Hanumanji’s grace to you and you have excelled in it. May He bestow you the three essential things which Tulsidasji, in his mystical prayer hymn, demands from Sri Hanumanji – bala, budhi, vidya!
Arts & Culture:
Visual Artwork Project
What is Culture?
Culture, as I understand it, is a word which describes an individual’s lifestyle. One’s culture is basically their way of life: their social and religious norms, cuisine, literature, and choice of music and art. Culture thus consists of person’s customs and traditions.
What is your Chosen Culture and
Why can it be defined as a Culture?
I have chosen to make my artwork about my own “hybrid” Hindu culture as it would be personal and I already know much about it.
My chosen culture can be described as a culture as it includes all of my social and religious norms. It consists of the food I eat (spicy) and governs, to an extent, the type of literature, art and music I come into contact with. It also consists of all of my customs and traditions.
My religion plays a very important part in my culture, so I chose to make an artwork which is relevant to it. My artistic talent lies in drawing; hence I chose to depict an event from the epic tale, the Ramayana, in this form. Here Lord Hanuman carries the huge Drona Mountain on his shoulders, from the Himalayas to Lanka, as it contains the rare sanjeevani herb required to heal Lakshmana.
What I found Difficult
I faced many difficulties while creating my artwork and tried to overcome them as best I could. These problems were:
- My colouring was uneven and looked bad, so I “smudged” or “shaded”.
- Some garments blocked vital muscles, so I made them semi-transparent.
- I had some trouble drawing Hanuman’s hands and feet, but I got it right in the end.
- Lord Hanuman’s ape-like mouth was hard to blend in to the face so I experimented with sfumato.
- It was hardest for me to give texture to Lord Hanuman and the mountain. I tried utilizing tonal value to aid me in my plight.
What I Learnt and Enjoyed
- I learnt how to draw another type of abdomen and six-pack, which stems from “Hercules-type” animation.
- I discovered how to add tonal value to give texture and depth to an artwork.
- Shading, in some cases, is more effective than colouring.
- If you shade on differently textured surfaces, their texture will be implied on your artwork. This can be a easy way to create texture.
- I enjoyed drawing Lord Hanuman and experimenting with different muscle-types and colours, etc.
I really liked making this artwork. Drawing is lots of fun and I really enjoyed expressing my culture in this form.