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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Ushus (70cm x 50cm; Acrylics and mica flakes on Gallery Wrapped Canvas)

Ushus is one of the primary Goddesses from the Vedic times and is the daughter of the skies. She embodies Dawn and carries the mark of the sun on her forehead in the form of a red bindi.

‘Ushus’, my painting depicts one of India’s best recognised symbols – the Bindi... or the pottu, tilak or teeka as it is known in different parts of the world or even in different parts of India. For generations, the bindi has been the most visually attractive of all forms (there are 16 of them in all) of body decoration in India. 

An authentic kumkum bindi  is of special significance since turmeric is dried and coloured with a lime to give  the rich red colour; the colour known to symbolise power!  However, it serves a higher purpose than just decorative.

The spot on the forehead between the eyebrows where the bindi is applied, is the location of the Āgnya Chakra which, in the language of yoga, is said to be the major nerve center in the human body. According to ancient Indian texts, the entire body emanates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves. This is especially intense all over the forehead and even more so, on the subtle spot between the eyebrows. That is why it is believed that worry generates heat and causes a headache. The bindi cools the forehead, protects us from stress and prevents energy loss.

I decided to call the painting Ushus, after my mother, Usha, who I’ve always known to sport a bindi on her forehead. Back when she lived in India, she used to sport a large red bindi on her forehead. In fact, it was her one claim to drama, when otherwise, she is fairly self effacing!

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