Lotus Dancers. 2010 *Currently on display at the Surrey Art Gallery*
Oil painting on Canvas.
Triptych with 3 canvas panels (24” x 8” x 1”)
This painting is my understanding of creationism in Hinduism. I have referenced traditional stories and painting styles of Hindu mythology. I was captivated by the story and imagery of ‘Shiva represented as Nataraja’
‘Whirling his limbs, gracefully carved as if a woman’s, Shiva as Nataraja moves to the rhythms of his dance which is both supremely sensual and sublimely spiritual.
He is the god of destruction, his dance too is thus essentially of a similar nature. A ring of flames encircles him. These are the cremation fires, which are ultimately going to consume our mortal bodies. But on the other hand, dance is also an act of creation. It brings about a new situation and transforms the dancer into a higher realm of reality and personality. Thus the forces gathered and projected in his frantic, ever-enduring movements are both of creation and annihilation.’
I chose influential Hindu symbols that are represented in many religious and mythological paintings. These symbols include the Om sign, lotus flower and the references to nature especially water and scenes of the ocean.
The ocean and sky is meant to represent the cosmos, the world seemingly formless, movable and always ready to be manipulated.
The lotus flower is the first act of creation. It floats on the surface and still lives in the water existing in both worlds. The Lotus flower represents peace, calm and overall tranquility.
The dancers are female, signifying the creative force that is in continuous motion generating waves and forcing change. Separately I named the panels Lotus Wind Dancer, Lotus Earth Dancer and Lotus Fire Dancer.
The female dancers are depicted in classical Indian dance positions. They administer the change that is causing the creation. I chose to paint three dancers to separate creation into three elements wind, earth and fire. I see water as the fourth element. Together the three dancers also represent a holy trinity (Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (Destroyer). Hindu gods are depicted with multiple heads and multiple arms outstretched grasping different objects. This was done to show the multiple aspects to the god’s personality. Whether it was a weapon to show the strength in times of war or a lotus flower as a show of mercy and willingness to listen to peace. I see the creator as the dancer, as one being however instead of using multiple heads and arms I separated them into three dancers.
A popular Hindu painting style places an emphasis on a two-dimensional rendering rather then a high level of realism. The figures and natural objects are shaded and have realistic proportions.
Meditating Lotus 2009
I started this series thinking the focus would be on the lotus flower but as I have worked with the imagery I have enhanced the importance of the dancers.Share on Facebook