Medium: Acrylic and Sand on Canvas
Dimension: 183cm x 244cm
Late last year Malaysia was inundated with what some say the worst floods to hit this country. There were many reasons given but the most obvious is legal and illegal logging.
Around the world in the past decade, we have witnessed massive earthquakes, flooding, landslides and tsunamis which repeatedly remind us that something is not right, like some equation is not in balance!
All these events beg the question…”What is happening to our planet?” Everyone seems to ponder on it, reports are being churned out on how our environment is fast eroding but man still seems to take nature for granted. He still keeps doing what he is driven to do …keeping his wants at the forefront of all decision making.
Let’s look at us, Malaysians in particular.
Although we have an abundance of nature, such as the oldest tropical rainforest in the heart of our country, it took us only a short while to forget our relationship with nature, the source of our physical and mental growth.
We clear lands without ever thinking of replanting and start uncontrollable forest fires which are meant to happen naturally, simply because we want to clear the land for planting or because we want to dispose waste without going through a natural recycling phase.
Yes, we are a very young nation and the awareness towards our environment is still not taken as seriously or as lovingly as it should be.
We plant beautiful flowers and guard our gardens with insecticides and manure, yet walk by without concern when even the limited trees and forests are cleared up outside our home.
Though some organisations are fighting to protect nature, what we lack is the knowledge of who the tree truly is. Generally, our knowledge is limited to what we have all been taught in school i.e. a tree gives oxygen and takes carbon dioxide.
However, in the ancient times, the tribal people to the simple villagers had great respect for nature. From the Gawai festival, Dininudi in America, Oktoberfeest in Germany, Lamas in Britain to Pongal in India is about showing gratitude to nature. The people of yesterday knew the importance of nature and revered it.
This painting is an attempt to show people the magnificence of a tree which is the very pillar of nature. Composed first out of mathematics, this painting is layered on the canvas using pixels, the formation of energy.
But before I continue with the process, I would like to share a story about how a tree has come to being and its purpose which is definitely more intense than the oxygen and carbon dioxide story.
Imagine a seed planted in the ground and a young shoot pushes itself and starts moving up. It will be green in colour and there will be fine white hairs that will surround the tiny plant.
This greenish plant attracts passing dust and a ring of dust starts forming and attaches to the plant. As the dust accumulation increases, the plant also grows bigger. From a green, it turns to a brownish green and still retaining the dampness, it will further attract dust particles which are surrounding it.
This goes on and on and more rings will be formed. This is why when a tree is cut you will find ring formations on it.
As the tree grows accumulating more and more dust, a moment will come where the dampness surrounding the tree cannot reach the furthest end. Gradually you will find a solid composition of dust, which is known as bark forming all around the tree.
Each dust, an energy formation within the tree is from its surrounding, either from a human, animal, matter and non-matter. These droppings which we call as dead cells hold memories for a stipulated time.
A ‘dead cell’ in actuality is a cell that is still vibrating with its own memory but the only difference is that the link to the others has died.
Just like when we are learning. If we do not apply what we have learnt, we will forget easily however the minute we apply it, we seem to have a greater ability to retain it.
Similarly a dead cell will retain its memory the minute it starts communicating. Therefore when this dead cell merges with the tree it is then communicating with a greater pool of cells thus increasing its vibration exponentially.
Now imagine a mature tree holding millions and billions of cells that contains memories which is now interacting with each other and vibrating, how will that affect its environment?
History has showed us over and over again how great thinkers and saints of the past have spent time under a tree and had revelations and visions.
A great example will be Buddha who sat under the Bodhi tree and went into self-realisation. When his form interacted with the memory of the tree long enough and consistently he became part of the tree and all the memories of the tree became part of him too.
Now look closely at the painting and you will be able to see different images be it a human face or some other formation that will keep appearing as you keep observing. This is to show the many memories that live in the tree.
Another interesting aspect of this painting is that the lighting was not governed by the usual rules of application. Lighting in this painting corresponded more with and represented the inherent vibration of the particular space. Hence you will notice in certain spaces colours are meeting and then merging just as it does when two energy vibrations meet.
There are 3 octaves in the nine divisions of colours used in the center frame based on sound vibrations. Importance is given to ‘yellow merged into green’ which symbolises the sound vibration of the word ‘Hati’, which is also the note ‘Ma’ in Indian classical music. The title ‘Hati’ was chosen keeping in mind the two resonating beats of the heart.
In the “art of mirroring” when the mind sees a definite colour which responds to a definite emotion, an interactive state occurs. ‘Ma’ the colour yellow, originates at the chest portion of the body while the colour green which is of nature, originates from the surrounding.
The meeting of the two makes “…life imitate art”.
While the pixels of vibrations depict the ethereal timeframe, there is a real-time set on this canvas. The bird and the Slow Loris represent the fast and the slow state of “relative time”.
The Slow Loris was specially chosen as there is a belief in tribal cultures that it is the gatekeeper of heaven and it is also known as ‘Kaatu Papa’, which literally means child of the forest in Tamil. The crystal ball which she is holding is a special gift from nature to mankind, to be a part of a natural existence.
The forest clouds which are seen like mist, is another important part in this painting. Though many may take a jungle walk thinking that it’s merely a physical exercise, actual benefit of the forest is the pure oxygen which is released in the forest much similar to the clouds in the sky.
The door signifies the outer world of noise and balance in day-to-day living while the inner realm shows the matrix of life. The eight directions along with the colours and contours creates a balance in the mind of the viewer.
Finally, more than just a painting, it is my belief that every art piece communicates influences and shapes its surroundings so much so, that Life Imitates Art.