Musings on a walk through the exhibition
The haunting sounds
of the shakuhachi pipes soulfully as Auroville flowers float in
water in shallow clay bowls. It is the opening day of the Students
Art show at the Pyramids. The studio space has been transformed
into a gallery and I find my way through the maze of displays.
Here is art work of students from various Auroville schools -
each piece unique in individuality yet harmonious as a collective,
a microcosm of Auroville's own aspiration perhaps.
Devi's triptych of 'Timid' welcomes at the entrance - a human
form repeated in ephemeral grays, a floating figure against a
backdrop of pale blue and sea foam green. In each panel the same
scene is rendered with a subtle difference hinting at a barely
disappearing self-reticent, bashful, and shy. This is who I am,
it seems to whisper and then it inquires softly, Do you see me
I also observe the viewers: there is Rajavelu pointing and nodding
excitedly, and Shankar beams widely, everyone around seems open
and delighted. From the French school in Pondy, a van load of
little children have arrived. They dart about, reading aloud the
artists' names in softly enunciated delicious French accents.
What is art - beauty pouring from the soul, a fleeting expression
captured in physical form? A Paul Klee quote besides a painting
reads Art doesn't produce the visible, it makes visible.
The works speak for themselves. Delicately executed pencil and charcoal
sketches of Muriel as the human model suggest the solid physicality
behind. Djenane's mystical cobalt blue and sand-coloured paintings
presented as a vertical array mushrooming up stir up memories of
New Mexico. Agathe's figures standing in intense solitude - a collage
of gold, violets and browns - whose piercing loneliness cut through
to one's own. Jonas's exuberance painted in yellows and white, an
interpretation of Schubert's music, shines with a divine luminosity;
Bettina's expression of her personal experience shimmers like an
Art spills outside as birds chirp and the sun beats down; my feet
scorch briefly and I hastily step on to cooler pebbles in the shade.
And then suddenly an azure spiral nautilus frozen in glass reveals
itself spinning in the afternoon ocean breeze - a deep, deep blue.
I hold my breath, shut my eyes and just sink in.
I come back again and again to view the works - three times, four
times, I soon lose count. The young artists and their adult guides
lingering about now give me a familiar smile. I've completed the
circuit, and am at the beginning, ready once more to leave. My eyes
rest on a printed text displayed on a steel frame sculpted in human
form. They are the words of Satprem: I believe that deep inside
me, very deep inside, there is something else, someone else, who
is wonderful and full and vast, who is everything I call beauty,
harmony, splendour. Very deep inside of me, it lives, it hears me.
I ask this thing inside me to come and show me the way because I
don't know anything, I do not see anything. Then it answers me,
it always answers and it helps me. It is only necessary to persist
with the faith of a child.