McNam Gan O’Ha
McNam Gan O’Ha
There are many ponds close to where I stay. The largest one nearby is the Kuyilapalayam village pond full of lotuses. I used to go there once in a while and sit. I have taken photo notes here but I have lost them transferring files.
In April of 2016 I spent most of my time inside the Adishakti campus. I had just experienced 14 nights of drawing Malviki Ramayanam, Excerpts from Birth of Sita on the 4 walls of their motor-room for the Remembering Veenapani Festival 2016. I stayed on for the festival to see the performances and meet its makers and old friends.
Adishakti has 4 lily ponds. I specially like the tiny one tucked away behind their new guest house. During this period I would routinely go sit by this pond once around 11 – 12 in the afternoon and then later around 3 – 4 pm. I initially started just sitting here. After a while I began to take down notes as sketches and photographs. Then I would sit for sometime in the evening listening to the crickets and roosting birds.
I do not know the exact type of water lily in this pond but it is from the Nymphaeaceae family. The photographs and notes allowed me to keep track of the shifts and changes in this region. It was interesting to see the 12 pm sun cast shadows on the pond and the see the 3pm sun shadows tell another story – the growth from a bud to a blooming flower and unfurling of a young leaf over a few days. The snails, critters, ferns.
The need is to: make a book, meet children – make a children’s picture book in collaboration and consultation with children – exploring ideas of transition of form, matter and silence across time if it interests them – use language and typography, paper and light and show these movements – continue my study on elements in flow – be quiet – sit, see, listen by a lily pond together by night till day.
I was in the city for the Art Bengaluru 2015 where I had a chance to show my first ideas for long images with the Flatland Scrolls printed on canvas. During this trip I had set aside some money to invest in paper and inks; with it I went to Bhaskar Arts Centre in CKP where they make sketchbooks in-house. I like these kind of books made by stationers in their workshops as they are simple and each stationer has a specific set of papers and forms of books that they produce.
Post the Art Bengaluru 2015 opening night two friends came back with me to my hotel room and we had a nice after party. We had much to say, catch up and consume. After they went to sleep I was still up since I’m mostly on night shifts, so I took my ciggies and went to the balcony with a fresh sketchbook. After a few pages of drawing the first sketches of the lily sequence with its ambience happened. It struck me as having potential to be a seed that could engage the many things that are influencing and shaping my life and practice at this point towards a productive and meaningful end.
I decided I would apply for an IFA Grant in 2012 because I wanted time and resources to study. Then I started thinking about what such a grant would allow me to study closely. I went about looking through my works and ideas to identify correctly what I was studying at that point and which areas of it I wanted to focus on over a long period of time consistently; especially since I have multiple interests and disciplines which I seek from. I knew I needed to make a book. After a few years of jotting scribbles and notes these were the first set of sketches that gave me the strong feeling that I had something solid. I set up a meeting with Shubham Roy Choudhury of IFA (Programme Executive: Arts Practice) and pitched the idea of a picture book to him. I explained to him the work I was used to doing as an illustrator and the discoveries I was making as an artist. He spoke about what IFA did and how it worked. I came away promising a proposal. Using these sketches as a seed thought I developed a proposal for a picture book. Post periodic reviews of it in development with the counsel of IFA I finally submitted my grant application for Arts Practice in September 2016. The grant came through in February 2017.