Nettipattam, a golden mask that adorns the foreheads of elephants at temple festivals in Kerala, appears in a sparkling and colorful replica at the ongoing India International Festival of Spiritual Art. Besides the ethnicity of the artist Shobha Prem nettipattam, made using gold-plated fiber domes, several other exhibits feature prominently in the virtual show (https://spiritualartfestival.org/) which runs for 100 days until November 8, 2021.
More than 70 artists from India, Poland, South Africa and Oman present their art and sculptures on the theme of meditation, awakening, spirituality, wisdom and inner peace . Artist Vernika Singh’s graceful sculptures, crafted from aluminum and mild steel, show humans in Surya-namaskar poses highlighting postures, movements, and gestures. Raw figures that focus on anatomy rather than facial features immediately grab the viewer. Pune-based Manasa Priya creates child-inspired crochet artwork, and Kuppaana Kandgal’s oil paintings showcase soothing textures. Ishrath Humairah creates mysterious landscapes in abstract textures that revolve around rocks, trees and nature. Mauli Shah’s watercolor series of kaleidoscopes captures the mundane.
“The art exhibit is an expression of emotions, including love, compassion, enlightenment, knowledge, fellowship, brotherhood, forgiveness and more,” said Blake Willis, professor of anthropology and education at Fielding Graduate University in California in a video post on the website. . “It gives deserving artists an international platform to showcase their work. We look forward to enjoying the art and stories behind the creations.
Festival director Kalki Subramaniam, who is also a transgender activist and author, said the festival supports upcoming artists and a Delhi-based artist has sold five pieces in a week. “During the pandemic, spiritual strength is something we can rely on to stay calm,” she adds.
The festival features works by Canberra-based artist Gautam Jhanjee. His calligraphic art collection draws inspiration from the rich cultures of his hometown as well as Maharashtrian and Punjabi influences from India, Oman, Germany, UK and Australia. Bridget Paul Shibu, who curated the show with Kalki, says the focus is on lesser-known artists and their experiences using a myriad of media. “Muthiah Kasi from Auroville sticks to the use of ethnic, non-toxic earth colors. Mumbai-based Nandkumar Yashwant Kulaye works with wood, metal, fiberglass and sandstone to create abstract constructions. The show was a revelation. “