Mural

ANKURANA 

 

 ANkuraNa: Art work of Banatanwi Dasmahapatra and Navjyoti Singh, 395 sq.m, July, 2012
 
The idea behind the Mural was to install a large and lasting ‘imaginary space’ in everyday life. The image space is conceived around a 'banyan tree', the emblem of IIIT-H. The 'tree of knowledge' (with branches representing various disciplines of knowledge) is a grand image from Europe which befits the spirit of a university. In the Indic traditions there is an alternative and an equally imposing image of a 'bodhi tree' (the tree of understanding and wisdom). The most well-known is the image of a tree under which Siddhartha (Buddha) attained nirvana. We imagined the university as a 'tree of enlightenment' under whose reassuring shade understandings flourish. However, in our visualization of the university two different and, at times, conflicting understandings are present. One understanding places the human and familial aspects at the center while the other understanding places the professional and scholarly aspects at the center. The imaginary space of the Mural was thus conceived with two bodhi trees, drawn in a way that the flourishing under them is accentuated. 
 
Under the left side bodhi tree human engagements are highlighted amidst an urban cultural milieu. The depiction of human figures is done such that their expressions are united in spite of diverse cultural backgrounds. Under the right side bodhi tree is the loom, an ancestor of the computer, embodying an analytic culture. The loom is deliberately drawn as unfinished and uneven much like the state of our fragmented knowledge today. The confluence of two bodhi trees is the cloth coming out of the loom, a fabric of 0’s and 1’s, which mingles into the environment of the two bodhi trees and holds the two in communion and conjunction. Thus, human flourishing and human dexterity are face to face in the mural. The birds watch and witness the goings-on beneath the trees. 
 
The side wall portrays yet another magnificent image of a 'tree of life' from the Indic traditions. This is imagined as an inverted asvattha, an image of an upside-down tree, inscribed in the Gita and other literature. It depicts the universe. The roots go to the sky and the stem, branches, leaves, fruits are the various nooks and corners of reality. Visualize a grand tree whose roots draw nourishment from the ethereal togetherness and whose branches are the multitude of our vivid reality. The inverted asvattha, the universe, is depicted in the mural as a pregnant woman with a child in the womb connected through an umbilical cord. It is an image of creation witnessed by an ever-analyzing uluka (owl), decomposing and recomposing the world. 
 
The lower corridor, because of architectural features, is imagined as a gallery space with many independent panels, each enlivening a different facet of life. All the paintings have a graphical style in which surreal depth is brought out by the force of line. These drawings compel perception in an imaginary dialect, which creates the supportive and background space for the dialogue required by the large walls. 
Tree, man and bird are the repeated iconic forces filling the space of the installation along with the loom and the fabric. They have been repeatedly deployed with varying meanings. Their non-realistic shaping and styling provide for the intended ideational depth, playful width and aesthetic composure of the installation – sprouting of understanding. 
 
 
 
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