Sunday, February 20, 2011

Seeing traditional dancing; being here now

     Am doing very well. Yesterday took a much needed afternoon nap. Already finished ten Face paintings, 24x18 inches.
    I'm listening to NPR on the computer! Sanscriti gave me a speaker so I can listen to just about anything on line.
    Today we, that is a group of us Sanskriti artists, are going to see traditional dancing near the Indira Gandhi Art Center in downtown Delhi. We'll take the subway and sit or stand in the "Women's car.". Remembering when daughter Janet and I arrived in Delhi in 1976 and went to see the tribal folk from all over India dancing for the throngs in the stadium. I noticed then that though they were in their traditional costumes and marvelous masks, they'd used their wages to buy sneakers! Wonder if it changed the cadence of their movements at that time? Wonder what it'll be like today? It's outdoors, just as then.
    Beautiful day, sunny and mild. Yesterday again, we had rain! Amazing to have real rain (and even thunder) in Delhi in February. It was the third  day of rain we've had rain since I've been here nearly just a week.Weather report says ten days of creeping warmth coming up. To be in the high 70's by March 2. In the low 70's now.
    This week (it's Monday for me, still Sunday in the USA), my goal is to finish the art that I'll be bringing for my show at the American Center. So far I've more than enough work, but as I have other plans/ideas, I want to get going. The very particular inspiration for these works is in the here and now of being in India. This is the motivation that's carrying me along. I'm showing in a big space so it'll be interesting to see how the show works out with the two masks, the many monoprints, and now the Face Paintings. Will they all work together? Or, will it look like a group show?? Color will be the great unifier, my favorite ochres, sienna, red, turquoise, gold and silver.
    Gemma, a poet from Barcelona and who writes in er native Catalan (though oftentimes translated into many other languages, even Norwegian), asked what is the secret of my productivity. I said, "burning incense." Yes, I've brought Japanese incense with me and have been given some Dhoop sticks giving off the scent of Hindu temples. That surely sets my mood as I'm moving into the work. What else? Images  keep flowing through my dreams after each day's encounters. The expressions of people I've seen and talked with are filtering into those "Face Paintings." It's seemingly flowing out of me. I feel that I'm being assisted by mysterious forces along the way.
     It's idyllic here, especially with the other artists working away in their own studios. What could be more inspiring than happily working for a show in a land that's already filled my heart and mind with images and the richness of daily surprises? And, memories, memories. I'm so glad I came way back in the 1970's,and 1990's. It's let me in on secrets of those past times in an India then when so many in the country now were not even born. It's a country of the young and beautiful. It's easy to be here now, but way back when, babies were dying on the streets and desperate beggars would beseechingly surround us. Each visit has shown a lessening of those tragic visages, and now, barely at all. That's surely progress that stands beside those endless high rise buildings going up for the newly wealthy middle class and beyond.Gives hope to the world, and as we hear of even the Middle East rising up for democracy, surely we can imagine applauding a future that is yet to be. Being still in India, I have to confess that the electricity has gone off, now own again, but the Web has kept me on line.

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