Sunday, January 13, 2013

Poetry Session ‒ Jan 11, 2013

Zakia, Priya, KumKum, Talitha, Sivaram, Thommo, and Mathew listening to Sivaram, gone digital with his iPad, to read 'Burnt Norton' by T.S. Eliot

The poets we read were from the world over: India – 1, Britain – 3, USA – 2, and Greece – 1. Two were read in translation from Malayalam and ancient Greek respectively. Only one poet was a woman. The readers were split, 4 women and 3 men.

 Talitha reading 'The Great Lover' by Rupert Brooke

The missing four readers lost out on the great enthusiasm with which the New Year’s session started. The Malayalam poet’s idiom was modern and Sappho speaking through the voice of her translator came through as a lyricist (and lyrist) of love and longing. 

Priya in soft focus

T.S. Eliot, a favourite of Sivaram since college days, was recited for the third time in our group whose collective memory is preserved at Poets& Poems, here to the right.

 KumKum reads fragments of Sappho as Priya and Talitha watch

Our general mood, always enlivened by the give and take of exchanges, ended on a note of great merriment when Mathew read from Ogden Nash.

  Priya reading Balachandran Chullikad's poem 'Winter in Stockholm'

Here are the readers at the end of the session (Joe is clicking and Zakia was away).
Priya, Talitha, Thommo, KumKum, Sivaram, Mathew at the end

For a full account and the text of the poems click below.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kochi Muziris Biennale — 2


The Biennale featured a number of artists who used the inviting walls of Fort Kochi to express their delight in working here. Artist Daniel Connell from Australia created two huge faces of his friend Justin Alan Magridge from Port Augusta, South Australia. The artist imagines that people from this very place migrated to Australia 60-80,00 years ago to form the aboriginal population there:

 Grandson Gael poses by Daniel Connell's work

Here is Daniel engaging with local people, which was seen as one of the projected benefits of the Biennale:


The start of the Biennale occurred on 12-12-12 when Maya Arulpragasam, aka M.I.A., performed on the opening night on the Parade Ground. Joe was among the groupies who waved hands above his head and swayed to the chorus of a thousand folk who had assembled:


But it was nothing like the experience of hearing Joan Baez, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, or Bob Dylan in his youth.

Colourful art enlivened the unkempt walls of a property near Aspinwall House:


The heart-brain connection stimulated by art is symbolised in this street painting:


On the morning of Dec 30 we had the rare pleasure of meeting painter, muralist, Murano glass sculptor, and the most famous modern artist in India, Anjolie Ela Menon. Here she is with KumKum at Le Colonial hotel in Fort Kochi:


The day before, a Times of India reporter had persuaded her to provide a reflection in art on the death of the courageous woman victim of the Delhi gang-rape which galvanised India. Here is the resulting memorial, sketched spontaneously:

 Nirbhaya’s million sisters mourn today. Let us keep up the fight. Let us not let them forget.

We went in search of Mandalay Hall in Jew Town but it was closed with three locks on the door and a drooping Biennale flag:


Earlier Htein Lin and a companion performed a re-enactment of the maritime links of Kochi with Burma, courtesy of the Clark House Initiative, an art gallery in Mumbai:


However, we  enjoyed some sunny moments in thriving Jew Town. Here are KumKum, Raja Menon, and Anjolie Ela Menon:


Gallery OED on Bazar Road is hosting a collateral show of artists on the theme ’Re-picturing the Feminine’:


Yvette Vexta's overwhelming nude is suspended on the eastern wall of OED gallery:


Nearer eye level is Dhruvi Acharya’s painting of women with thought bubbles:


Kate Benyon has painted women in circles; the central figure has a Medusa-like aspect:


Chitra Ganesh's woman transfixes the gaze with fingers dripping off her tongue:


Another painting depicts a woman, high on a hookah with unusual plumbing:


A gentler woman by another artist has embroidery blooming from her head, however:


For this hanging drape, artist Fiona Hall may have been inspired by a vision of the skulls of Cambodians killed by the Pol Pot regime in the Killing Fields:


As we waited to view the art at Moidu House two Brahminy kites alighted on stumps of coconut palms at the Customs jetty on Calvetty Road:


After viewing Moidu House Raja and Ela Menon completed their circuit at the Pepper House: