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Pleasant strokes

Oriental Strokes, an exhibition of Chinese brush paintings - the Feng Shui form, depicts a range of subjects


FENG SHUI is attracting many into its fold these days. It has changed many a votary's lifestyle. Chinese art is also linked to Feng Shui. Artist Kalpana Sinha's (who lived in Hyderabad for many years) Chinese brush paintings mounted at Daira Centre for Arts and Culture bear testimony to this. Rather, the Feng Shui angle is projected as part of Daira's attempt to bring art closer to the people using a concept which is applicable to daily life. Kalpana suggests "the appropriate placement of each of her paintings for wholesome well-being and growth."

Kalpana had a passion for art since childhood. She painted as a hobby through the years she spent at boarding school - Lawrence School at Sanawar. This MBA graduate joined the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore years later to pursue a formal course. "Since I run an e-education firm in Singapore I had to do a part-time course," she says. It was here that she was introduced to Chinese painting.

The skill of Chinese painting fascinates her. "Strokes are most important. One needs to master the skill, as once the strokes are painted they cannot be corrected as the rice paper absorbs the water colours fast. There is a certain thrill in mastering it and watching the colour spread on paper is fascinating." This is her second show of Chinese paintings in the twin cities.

Kalpana creates the Chinese art (replete with calligraphy in some) in vibrant strokes in different colours on rice paper. She paints with free abandon yet within the parameters of Chinese paintings. Kalpana deviates a bit with the usage of some colours and slight changes in form. Generally the colours in Chinese paintings are subtle, but Kalpana on account of her Indian influence, uses some bright shades like red, purple and blue. "My teacher Tan Khim Ser encourages me to move away a bit. He wants to propagate the art in some form. "

The motifs are abstract and floral - elements of nature and landscape - trees, flowers, water, mountains. Her notes on certain elements of Feng Shui like water, mountains, horse and bamboo help one in understanding the meaning and the placement of such paintings.

Some of Kalpana's canvases deal with the theme of water. More `landscapic' in nature, these depict the gushing waters. She says: "water in Feng Shui is often used to enhance wealth. Hung on the north side of your home or office symbolises wealth flowing into your life," much like the flowing waters in the works. The works on flowers are mainly traditional - they have a certain vibrancy about them due to the colours. Very `orchid'-like, these are pleasant to the eye.

That the artist has perfected the technique is evident. Although one may find the rigidity of form, these Oriental strokes are simple and easy to comprehend. Perhaps therein lies their commercial appeal and relevance too.

Oriental Strokes is on till February 8 at Daira.

R.R.

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