Jugalbandi: A Fusion of Art and Poetry

The father daughter duo of Mr. Ram Varma and Ms. Vandana Sehgal presents Doublet art work

Exhibition cum Book launch:

Before He was God, Ramayana, Reconsidered, recreated.

Date: 24.03.10, Time: 4.30

Venue: The Lalit, (near Bengali Market)

A combination of Architectural and spiritual musings going to melt into incorporeal art at a solo exhibition cum book launch being presented by Ms. Vandana Sehgal along with her father, Mr. Ram Varma, at The Lalit on the occasion of Ram Navmi, on 24th march, 2010.

Ramayana, the Hindu epic, after all, makes for sumptuous food for imagination. It is replete with colorful and fascinating gods, goddesses and characters, whose visual representations are equally imaginative and spiritually uplifting. Colorful portraits of RAMA, hanuman, adorn the walls and puja rooms of almost every Hindu household in India but here it also abets Mr. Ram Varma’s book – Before He was God, Ramayana, Reconsidered, recreated. Both of them have rendered this composition in a synchronized manner. The uncanny tryst of colors and brushes of Vandana and the recital blank verses of Mr. Ram give a perfect blend of ethereal art.

Aspired to make painting a passion, Vandana is an architect by profession and if we talk about her father then he is a retired IAS officer and was English lecturer in Jodhpur University. Ram Varma was drawn to the fount of English poetry right from his school day, but he entered the charmed world of Vedas, Valmiki, Vyasa, Kalidasa and Bhasa after his retirement.

Ram Varma’s rendering “Before He was God, Ramayana, and Reconsidered, recreated” is refreshingly different from the Valmiki’s Ramayana where ram is a historical figure like Krishna or Buddha. . His re-creation takes support on the bedrock of the latest textual, sociological and archeological research. In his own words, “the story recited by the well meaning pundits of Puranic times was an senseless exaggeration. It was vital to restore the attention of the viewers or the readers, but this beautiful story did not need any artificial support. Its beauty remains undiminished even in a realistic portraiture of events. Ram Varma captures those vignettes and there is an aroma in his rendering which gives the pleasant smell of an odor of Vedic times.”

The theme of Vandana’s paintings is Ramayana and she captures her inspirations in monologues, a collection of 65 paintings which will be on display at The LaLiT on 24 March. There is an effort to be true to the narrative of the author. Commenting on taking up Ramayana as a theme Vanadana said that, “Ramayana is such a theme that one is absorbed into it with a force that is difficult to comprehend and when I had gone through my fathers book who believes that apart from meeting Vasishtha, Vishwamitra and Gautama earlier, Rama met other great diviners like Bharadwaja during his sojourn in Dandakaranya, I got inspired and thought of depicting this story on my canvas. He lived in their ashramas, saw them perform yajna and heard them recite the hymns. It has been a spiritual journey- these 65 paintings which took up six months are also a parallel journey with Ram.”

A self taught artist, applied her god gifted art and created oil cum acrylic paintings with the contemporary spiritual and traditional theme. Earlier also she had presented a solo exhibition “Between Spaces” in Lucknow. They were the spaces that her mind conceived – some were real and some surreal.

And this time the main uniqueness of this exhibition cum book launch is that it’s a unique a venture father and a daughter and more than that it’s a collaboration of a writer and an artist who tied up and miniatures of all 65 paintings have been nestled along with the “Before He was God, Ramayana”. Both father’s and daughter’s creation abets the Indian heritage and culture.