January 29, 2010

Breathtaking – Unbelievable - Seamless work of Art!!!!!!!!!!

This is what you would feel when you would see the work of  Emma Van Leest ,  paper cutting artist from Melbourne,  Australia.   I have just blogged ( my  earlier post ) about Indian paper cutting art  and  how our paper cutting art is devoted to the worship of Lord Krishna .   But, when I saw the work of Emma , I simply fell in love with her work ,   close eye for details,   unbelievable imagination , ingenious talent, fineness and delicacy of her paper art .  On completing her degree from RMIT University , Emma left for Indonesia to learn   Balinese and Javanese folk art. She also  studied the ancient art of shadow puppetry there . In 2008  , she took up a residency at the Sanskriti Kendra in New Delhi, India .  Indian comic books, Mughal miniature,  carving , embroideries, religious relics, dollhouses, Chinese illustrations, Operas,  abstract painters have been her source of Inspiration.   She has started using more colors in her work after her stay in India.

Her work has been featured in various exhibitions and famous magazines. Though, all her artworks are magnificent but “before the first rain” and “Sanskriti series”  is close to my heart as it is inspired by the traditional Indian culture, moghul art  , daily life in India  and Indian comics.  The title, Before the first rain,   is about  an Indian summer and... anticipation that arises in the heart when we are awaiting the first rains………………

From her collection “ Before the first rain”

                                                            “All matters that exist”vanleest_allmatterthatexists_lg                                                                         “Necessitiesvanleest_necessities_lg                                                                         “ Incurred”vanleest_incurred_lg

                                                                                       “A likeness”vanleest_alikeness_lg1                                                                             “We are all returning”vanleest_weareallreturning_lg

                                                                              Sanskriti Series – I vanleest_boxpink_lg                                                                                   Sanskriti Series – II          vanleest_boxgreen_lg                                                                  Sanskriti Series - IIIsanskriti-series-iii

Sanskriti work is  done in the boxes .  Do you believe me now when I said Emma’s work is breathtaking – unbelievable ?  I can’t even cut a straight line and  she is creating wonders,  fantasy , a  dream world .  She did not miss a thing.   Absolutely awe-inspiring!!! .   I am sure , the next thing you are going to do is to see her more work,     unique cutting style makes her work well worth checking out..

January 18, 2010

A rare devotion ………………

In India, paper cutting art  is popularly  known as Sanjhi .   Sanjhi is an ancient art  originated from a traditional customs  of  Vaishnav sect of Hindu’s prevailing at that time (15th –16th century).   It is a traditional art of cutting stencils on paper used to make rangolis  in the worship of Lord Krishna in Braj Bhoomi ( Vrindavan, Mathura)  in Uttar Pradesh .  The predominant focus of the art has always been  “Leelas of Lord Krishna “ in its various forms.  The delicacy , intricate  craftsmanship of the art exhibits the artist’s supreme devotion and infinite  love for the lord.   It is believed that Radha and her friends (Gopis) used to decorate the aangans ( front yards ) of their houses  with Rangoli’s  to glorify their love towards Krishna . It seems that Sanjhi got its name from the word “Sanjh – ( Twill hour in english)  when these colorful rangolis made from paper cut stencils  were unveiled in the evening prayers  offered to Lord Krishna in the temples .  Every  morning  new depiction from Lord Krishna’s life was made  and unveiled in the evening . 

Even today, the Sanjhi art  is practiced in some of the temples in Vrindavan and Mathura .   One of the famous temple is “Radhavallabh Temple Vrindavan” . The traditional Sanjhi art involved sketching of the theme and  then cutting. These are mainly cut with very fine and slightly curved scissors.  Once the stenciled pattern is made , it can be filled with colorful stones, flowers , piece of mirror or dry powder color . 

                                                         Filling of colors with Sanjhi Stencil”


                                                                     (Image source : Craft revival trust)

The  most popular sanjhi  is filling with dry colors . The filling of colors in Sanjhi and lifting of the same has to be meticulously and impeccably done as the process  is as critical as cutting of the Sanjhi .   These intricate stencils are used in  many ways  - Rangoli on the mud platform ,  The submerged Sanjhi – i.e. rangoli  made  is viewed under the water , Rangoli floating on the water , etc.

                                                                          Sanjhi “ Sakhiyan”Sanjhi Utsav

                                                                            Sanjhi  “Jhula “Sanjhi Utsav

                                                                                    Sanjhi “Ras LilaSanjhi Utsav                                                                         Sanjhi on water - “Harivansh ji”  Sanjhi Utsav                                                    Sanjhi’s   Image Source : Radhavallabh Sanjhi Utsav

Would it not be  interesting to meet one of  the artist who is part of making amazing piece of art?  Vijay Kumar Soni , who has won the State Award for Craft Excellence in paper cutting/  rangoli making is   a Sanjhi cutter from Mathura  belongs to the family whose  seven generations  have been engaged in this  paper cutting art , making sanjhis for temples and houses as an offering to lord. Vijay works on his designs  with his family in the morning and around /after 4 pm , he leaves for an exclusive location  near the Mathuranath Mandir where his forefathers used to cut  Sanjhis . He uses papers, Copper sheets and plastic sheets depending on the need of his buyers for  Sanjhi stencils. Once  tradition , then passion and now also the profession for him,   He feels paper cutting art has come a long way. As per him , this paper cutting art has moved from temple craft to decoration craft now ,  Apart from making Sanjhi for temples , he makes wedding cards, Bindi, serving trays , etc using this art .  His passion remains the Sanjhi devoted to God as “thakur ji’s seva” .  As he said “ Sanjjhis are native to this soil, uski mehak kucch aur hai” Vijay’s traditional sanjhi’s are:

                                                “Radhe Krisha – Ras lila Paper cut Rangoliradhakrishna

                                                                                             “Kesh Lila “ keshlila

                   “ Sanjhi – Yamuna Ji”                                “Sanjhi – Vishnu Laxmi ji” yamuna ji wiht garland vishnu ji on sheshnag

In fact, now  Sanjhi art form again becoming popular and has found new  place in Commonwealth Games, New Delhi , 2010. The pictograms for all the 17 sporting segments of Commonwealth Games have been inspired by Sanjhi art. Bangalore-based design agency, Idiom  has created  these pictograms:


My post on Sanjhi would be incomplete if I do not mention about Shri Prabal Pramanik. He  is  a distinguished artist from  Bhamlada – Punjab, India specializes in various facets of paper art.  The passion for art brought him to Bhamlada leaving behind  life of luxury and comfort .  He is  a versatile artist in many medias ,- paper cuttings, color works , poetry  ,drawings and film making.  He is also an author of number of  books  on art .  Paper cutting art-works made by Prabal Pramanik are without any  tracing , sketching and complete theme is made out of single sheet of paper. He  has not only explored the Sanjhi art but also mastered the art through  his own efforts  thereby completely giving it modern look : An incredible style all his own.   His love for paper cutting art has gone one step further, he has animated paper cuttings thereby making animation movies from them.  He is the first person to use paper cuttings made without any drawing or tracing to make animation movie. His devotion and dedication has kept the dyeing paper cutting art of India alive  in modern times and brought many laurels and accolades from all parts of the world.   He is also running an academy in Bhimlada for the promotion of this art. 

Sanjhi art incorporated into his work in different ways:

                                                                     Gita GovindaGitagovinda2Rasa                                       

            Buddha at Saranath with his five disciples setting the wheel of Dharma rotating


                                                                   Mahishasuramardini Durga

document30 Silhouette paper cutting – Ladies with birds


                             The artists at Banaras ghat                       


Some of the  movies made by him in this unconventional aspect of paper cutting are :

                                                                              The Enchanted Palaceenchant                                                                   The cockroach and the lizardlizd                                                                                        PREM SETU

Radha                                                                    Hari prema gagane chira raka

haripremTo know more about his paper cutting works , pls visit his site :papercuttingart

January 4, 2010

Choose your own slice of paradise in luxury boutique hotels of Goa

Goa is one place where I can go anytime of the year .  An old Portuguese colony ( almost ruled  by the colonial Portuguese for over 450yrs ) on the west coast of India , popularly known as the “Rome of the East” is one place to offer you what you can expect from a rejuvenating vacation-  - superb sandy beaches,  best of coastal climate , clear blue skies and blazing  sunshine,  immense history ,  fascinating and unique blend of Indian and Portuguese culture, UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Old Goa,  Goan sea food and feni drink ,  Goan Carnivals – Colorful festivals , fun loving people , carefree lifestyle,  Luxury retreats – What more can I ask??

If you are keen to know more about Goa and its culture ,  just check goacentral , a tourist information portal that has all the details you wish to know about Goa.

While looking  out for new places in Goa , I found Four  luxury boutique hotels overwhelmed with beauty.  Their comfort and  charm  can leave anyone ecstatic , overjoyed and mesmerized .  Now,  I am longing for my next trip……….. to take refuge in  my own slice of paradise…..  Where do you want to be or would you like to come on a virtual tour with me to discover more ?????

Here we go ………………….

Siolim House  -  North Goa

If you want to experience the magnificence living of Portugal Colonial house , then Siolim House is the only choice . Situated in the village of Siolim in North Goa,  Siolim house  is three hundred and seventy five years old house once belonged to Governor of Macau .  Presently owned by Varun Sood who bought this heritage house in 1996  , elegantly restored with utmost attention to its architecture, infused with the essence of a true Goan Palacio ,its 22 rooms were converted into  7 large suite accommodation.   Siolim house is a non hotel home (As varun calls) , a perfect destination for someone seeking silence with grace and elegance .  The best of food is offered with age old village recipes cooked by local aunties.  Siolim House was a finalist for the 2001 UNESCO Asia pacific heritage awards for conservation.

                                                          Home away from home !!!!!2                                                                       Beautiful  Inner Courtyard courtyard                                                        Pool with massage table and tree housepool

                                                                   View of Restaurant 5                                                              Living Room – wooden ceilingsliving room               They have named every room after trading ports of the 17th  century.   (17th century in which Siolim House was built)

                                                     View of “ Surat Suite”surat                                                                         View of Bahia Suitebahia 2                                                               Close up of Bahia Suite bahia                                                                                      View of Malabar suite malabar                                                           Sunny and bright Cambay suitecambay1122

Awesome Canopy four poster beds, attractive light hued walls  to complement the antique furniture, minimalist décor , Rooms look  bright and spacious, mother of pearl windowpanes, hope you did not miss out variety of  lovely  patterns of  floor tiles  used in every nook and corner of the house .   What a fun it would be to walk barefoot on these floors ??

Isn’t this  a relaxed , quiet heaven , a  stunning place to unwind yourself ??

By the way   our  beautiful exploration of Siolim House does n’t end here… As they say  “all great things come in small packages”  Little Siolim   is a scintillating  and splendid surprise of a  Siolim House.  “Little Siolim”  is another 3 fully air-conditioned bedrooms building  situated as you enter the Siolim village. Little Siolim decor is based on the theme of Mangoes and coconuts and that is why the whole house is painted with yellow . Even the Pillars in  the courtyard  and pool are all made of coconut tree . Rooms are as lovely as Siolim house.  Heavenly colors like Fuchsia, Orange, Red and yellow would brighten and lift up one's mood and spirit.  Beautiful Sleigh beds,  Antique and chic  furniture made me stop and look again. The rich hues  used in furnishing , blend flawlessly with  simplistic decor and enhance the warmth of the rooms .   The  house also has an open kitchen  fully equipped with all modern amenities for cooking .One can choose to cook oneself or  can request for service of chef  as desired.


Pool in the courtyard  - the entire house centers around this pool   img34

Living Room  - vibrant and full of energyimg5

Master Bedroom with wooden flooring img9

 Boat Shaped teak wood bedimg13 Bathrooms with modern fittings

    img18 img25

For further enquiries , more facilities , tariff details , you may check their site siolimhouse  or may write at siolimhouse@gmail.com

Hope you enjoyed  virtual tour of  the  beauty and peacefulness of  “Siolim “ as much as I did. 

Watch out for my next post for the other  hotels  with their stunning beauty and style…………


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