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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Untitled painting - opinions and comments?

This painting has been in the works for 3 years now.....the upcoming exhibition gave me the final impetus to finish it! I am not really sure what to call it. A few options that came to mind are Rage, Wrath of a Woman, Righteous Fury.... any suggestions?

I'll tell you what inspired it (other than my occasional need to vent!!). Silappatikaram is one of the 5 Great Epics in Tamil Literature. It was penned by the prince poet Ilando Adigal (I hope I spelled that right!) from the Chera Dynasty. He may have built upon an existing folk lore, but the epic is regarded as a work of Tamil genius. It is a fascinating story and alludes to Ionian(from Greece and Rome), Israeli, Egyptian, Arabian, Chinese and South East Asian influences on Tamil culture, from extensive trade relations. Unlike the Kingdoms of the Indo Gangetic plains, the Dravidakam kingdoms had a maritime culture and hence had extensive trade and diplomatic relations with other far away kingdoms.

The story revolves around the central female character of Kannagi who was married to Kovalan, a rich merchant in the Chola capital of Puhar. Kovalan takes up with Madhavi, a court dancer, with whom he moves in. They have a daugher, Manimegalai, too. Eventually he realises the error of his ways, splits up with Madhavi and reunites with Kannagi. By this point he has lost all of his wealth, having squandered it on Madhavi. They decide to leave Puhar and move to Madurai to start afresh.

Kannagi tasks Kovalan with selling her anklet (Silambu) for seed capital to start a new business in Madurai. He goes into city of Madurai and finds a goldsmith who is willing to buy it from Kovalan. Unknowing to both Kannagi and Kovalan, there is a search on for the Madurai queen's stolen anklet. the Goldsmith takes the anklet and brings Kovalan before the king who immediately orders for Kovalan's execution, without a trial. He is immediately killed. Kannagi hears of this and immediately comes to court. She breaks open the anklet the king believe's is the queen's and shows them that the anklet contains rubies, where the queen's contained pearls. In her fury, Kannagi tears out a breast and curses the entire city of Madurai to burn. Due to her chastity and righteousness, her curse becomes reality and the entire city, except for the old, the very young and the disabled, burns down.

The story continues for a bit after this, but I will not go into that detail..... because this is where my painting comes in. I must have read this about 10 to 15 years ago. But the sheer drama of the story stayed with me and was the first topic I thought of when I started painting abstracts! The painting, with broad sweeps of the reds and yellows, portrays the rage and righteous fury that Kannagi feels upon hearing of her husband's death.

So.... any suggestions on names? :) I am stuck!

1 comment:

  1. love the fiery yellow and red. reminds me of the eye of saron from lord of the rings!