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the mid-nineties, the Janaka Art Studio in ‘Ravena’, one of the
settlements in Auroville’s Greenbelt, finds artists from north and
south America, Europe and Asia working together in the tranquil
atmosphere of the place, researching sacred art from different traditions
using south Indian techniques, in particular those of traditional
was taken by Jocelyn of Silence, who, originally from USA, has lived
in Auroville since 1969 when she began working in New Creation.
Jocelyn has started a number of workshops, maintained a forest and
a mango grove, worked in development, administration, festivals,
- to finally find herself taken by south Indian art. She wholeheartedly
plunged into to learning to understand the art of the region.
the studio came about..
have always loved traditional Indian art..
Several years ago my son-in-law asked me to buy him
a Thanjavur painting, and I found a master of Thanjavur art in Pondicherry,
Ganeson, who had an art school there.
I bought some paintings and enabled two Aurovilian ladies
to study with him. He and I became fast friends and we would go
every Sunday morning to Matrimandir.
One Sunday, Ganeson suggested we make
a studio in my house and I agreed, interested to work on the paintings
myself, and unwilling to go into Pondy to his school there.
So we began working with several local students, learning
about the paintings, the vegetable dyes, the gems and all the other
Several Aurovilians have joined and work with us, like for instance
Miki, with a Master's degree in painting from Canada, and also ShivKumar
from Kuilyapalyam village who studied at New Creation, and Paravatum
who never went to school until I arranged for her to go to
Ganeson's art school.
A large clay pot, painted by Ganesan of Janaka Art Studio
(see above), has been placed on the nomination list for an
award by the Indian National Handicraft Board. The pot, originally
made in Rangoon (Burma) some fifty years ago, is an object
of great beauty.
seems to be an active dialogue with the gods and goddesses that
are depicted in these paintings, and we go deeper and deeper
into the tradition.. Our work becomes more original because
we do not confine ourselves to the sketches used in the popular
commercial Thanjavur paintings, but are now doing a series on
Vedic gods, and avatars etc. We often read appropriate texts
to try and understand the myths we are painting and it’s a very
engaging research. In fact.., the art in this house is really
something interesting.., - something very amazing is happening
here while working on these beautiful gods..”
Studio, Ravena, Auroville 605101, India
Ph: 91 - 413 -2 622079; Email: email@example.com
The tradition was initially completely dedicated to the Shiva puranas
, but in the 16th century King Serfoji of Maratha - who had fled
to the South when his land was invaded - brought Krishna & the
Gods of the North, and included them in the paintings in his temples
and places. For the last two hundred years, the paintings have been
done on boards as well as walls of temples, and the original 3 colors
have become a complete rainbow palette, using tree gum mixed with
tamarind paste. Other influences led to the use of gems and gold
in the paintings, which are loved and cherished by people in south
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