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On the path to self-discovery

By Aparna Menon
In Art & Culture
August 5, 2016
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The Weeping Girl: An innocent, feminine face in predominantly ochre hue, framed within unruly close-set curls; her  eyes are downcast yet she appears to stare at you from within the frame of the canvas; tears tumble down onto her cheeks helplessly, mercilessly. She implores you to interrogate yourself and so also the society that you are a part of. It pricks on the conscience, gently at times and fiercely at other times. Long after this image has faded from the eyes, the haunting continues to linger in the mind and the heart.  The gravity of the image is so overwhelming that you simply cannot ignore an ache within. A historical statement has been made!

Creating moving statements through profound works of art such as The Weeping Girl has been more than a craft, rather, a way of life for Sasi Krishnan, the contemporary artist from Kerala who couldn’t have been happier doing anything else than making art that is eloquent and resonates with life’s myriad shades and meandering paths. The 5-day exhibition that commenced on 25 July 2016 at the Durbar Hall at Cochin, conducted as  part of the Philaesthoism Movement of Art founded by the Artist himself, concluded on 29 July 2016. On exhibit were a string of 33 amazing pieces of art aptly titled Mind, Space and Beauty in total reflection of the suite of works on display.

For those who visited the gallery, Mind, Space and Beauty was essentially a landscape of thoughts that revealed the ingenuity of an artist whose tryst with art though  ART & CULTURE serendipitous is nearly three decades old and dotted with experiences that are good, bad and ugly, as they say. His journey has been verily one of self discovery and introspection more than the business of art making as we know in the context of  the world today.

Over time the definition of art has undergone colossal changes. The boundaries of art and daily life have merged to pave way for a seamless exchange between the two. In absolute synchronicity, Sasi does not fail to observe the glint of art in every object around him, in every situation that he finds himself in and so also in the transience of life. For the Artist, there is nothing good or bad; there is only inspiration in everything; there is an opportunity behind every pain and joy – an opportunity to create yet another piece that talks to the world. He channels his observations and experiences into works that showcase many dimensions and carefully weaves them into the fabric of each canvas. Each oeuvre is thus born out of a compulsive thought and a continuous creative process that causes ripples in the viewer.

The 33 paintings that were on display dealt with different subjects that take birth within the human mind and also converge within the human mind. There were a number of paintings exploring different angles of the life of a girl child growing in a society that often chooses not to hear her voice while she fights for her rightful space in a galaxy of scheming adults.  The unkind, the unnerving were all portrayed to equal measure but so also was hope – an experience akin to looking through a Kaleidoscope.

Meanwhile, there were also a few less grave pieces like Maternal Attunement which highlights the special bond between mothers and daughters. They are shown engaged in an endearing dialogue. Strokes that follow no particular fashion run across the canvas obscuring the faces of the mother and the daughter yet the mood is palpable – this simple painting depicting a daily moment in the life of mothers and daughters, finds universal resonance. This beautiful work is a tribute to motherhood in particular and womanhood in general.

There were a set of other works that talked about man as the master of camouflage. Man’s mind, brilliant yet multi-layered engages in a dramatic masquerade to protect, defend and affect as the case might be. He fiercely protects his inner quarters and its histrionics behind layers of veils. Ironically this very closely guarded mind lay bare within Sasi’s impeccably crafted frames!

And then there were works that dealt with human ambitions, the many inner contradictions, conflicts and confusions of life set against the backdrop of the technologically forward world. Blending shades of satire and lament, here man was more than once portrayed as a victim of the technological progress  he has set forth in motion with his sharp intelligence; as a mere toy in the hands of gadgets that rule his world.

A careful study of Sasi’s works reveals to an astute lover of art, the passion, sensitivity and deftness with which he approaches the subjects of love and beauty in human relationships. This concept that runs through his works as a recurring ideological motif has been named Philaesthoism by the Artist himself.

 So what is Philaesthoism? Conceived at the turn of the millennium, Philaesthoism is an ideology that blends into art, the subtle elements of love and beauty. Sasi firmly believes that these are the condiments that go into the making of a peaceful inner self which is the key to a peaceful world. This inner peace is what has been projected onto majority of his works.

He is a compelling narrator, who experiments with art by magically rearranging his observations on his canvas, playing upon the complexities of human perception and reality. At his hands, simple interactions, intricate dramas of life, the mundane and the extraordinary, all acquire an almost ethereal life within the gallery space. Each experiment is his effort at unearthing different dimensions of his very own self and hence he calls this an unending journey of self-discovery more than anything else while making no hiding of the fact that he does not plan his tomorrows.

He dons many hats with adroitness – he is a sculptor, cartoonist, writer, director of art for short movies and much more. Before embarking as a full time artist, he dabbled in quite a few non-artistic professions but eventually found the calling of his life in Art. Sasi is currently based in the Middle East where he is an art educator at an Indian School and also runs his own studio apart from conducting exhibitions and creating art for Corporates in different parts of the world. Working out of a modest studio a part of which is also his home, he creates magical works while the rest of the world goes about negotiating life in the Middle East which is both – magic and art!

The writer is an award winning author, poet and corporate art-critic. She writes about paintings, sculptures and music

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