Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The golden deer আমার সোনার হরিণ চাই

''The Golden Deer''
30 cm x 30 cm
(Acrylics on gallery wrapped canvas,
finished with matte and glossy varnish)
Inspired by the words of a song by Tagore.
''তোরা যে যা বলিস ভাই আমার সোনার হরিণ চাই
ও সেই মনোহরণ চপল চরণ সোনার হরিণ চাই''
''সে যে চমকে বেড়ায় দৃষ্টি এড়ায় যায় না তারে বাঁধা
সে যে নাগাল পেলে পালায় ঠেলে লাগায় চোখে ধাঁধা
আমি ছুটব পিছে মিছে মিছে পাই বা নাহি পাই
আমি আপন মনে মাঠে বনে উধাও হয়ে ধাই''
Tagore describes the deer as an elusive,
evasive creature - untamed and unattainable.
Yet, the poet is determined to chase it without a care.
The concept of chasing the golden deer has its origins in the Ramayana,
an episode humorously told in the animation below:

In fact, the deer has played significant roles in
mythologies across the world.
In the Indian context, the golden deer symbolises maya,
an illusion, that which prevents man
from seeing the world as it truely is.
We are all chasing the golden deer, each one of us,
in different forms......aren't we :) ? !!

Moving on from that rather philosophical thought (ahem!),
here are some depictions of this scene from the epic tale
through different Indian folk art forms:
Malwa miniature painting in bright bold colours,
dating back to circa 1634 -40 A.D.

A madhubani depiction in the typical folk style.

A north-Indian miniature style rendition of the scene.

Another very ornate Orissa patachitra (scroll painting) style illustration.

Even Hussain rendered this, in fact, this was one of his works auctioned
a few hours after the news of his passing.

Last, but not the least, a page from one of my favourite books
of vintage Indian match box designs on the deer.
You'll see the starting point of my painting in one of these,
no points for guessing which one :)!
Hope you enjoyed this post, the print of this painting
will be available in my shop in a couple of days.

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