Back in 2010, the husband & me had a little studio for a home in Jersey City, NJ. No complaints though, smaller spaces make for quick cleaning & easy maintenance. With a dreamy view of a shimmering New York Skyline, the only thing amiss was privacy. The living room directly merged with the bedroom space & though the house seemed bigger, we would have been happier with a make do seperator. We scoured Ikea, Amazon, & Craigslist even in the quest to find the perfect room separating apparatus but in vain. That’s when the husband had a jolt of an idea & the Wall of Warli was born.
After foraging around for the perfect pieces of wood and a mammoth sized canvas cloth, he spent a week lovingly & laboriously putting them all together. I woke up one morning to a smiling husband, startled by the presence of a wall of canvas sprawling across our living room, standing proud, stretched & supported by four long wooden pieces. Not only would this be a room separator, it would also be a canvas to unleash my creativity & let my imagination run wild. A space to paint unstintingly and make it my own. Pray tell me, what more does an artist need? Almost immediately, my mind was a muddle of ideas and I caught myself teetering between shades of colours & various themes. This project became a silver lined cloud in the cold winters of New Jersey and what I hadn’t realised back then was that this painting would wind up becoming a backdrop for the many, many photographs that would be shot in the coming years.
I settled on Warli as the theme and for those of who don’t know, Warli is an ancient, Indian, tribal art form, taking it’s roots in Maharashtra, India. It has always intrigued me owing to it’s simplicity in it’s portrayal of stories and the scope it offers to the artist.
Red as the background was quite an and obvious choice since both of us happen to love the colour. What I hadn’t anticipated was the dark background would also hinder pencil drawings and I would have to paint with sparing references. Fingers crossed & relying on powers beyond me, I began in the cold of December and determinedly went only till the 1st of March. This painting ensured that the hardest three months of winter would be a breeze for me and I ardently devoted 5 hours of the day (11am -5 pm) to it sans weekends of course.
The painting, which is an acrylic one, depicts men & women dancing around a musician, a Warli version of Indian Gods, Ganesha & Shiva-Parvathi and a burgeon of plants below. Also seen are dancing peacocks & homes replete with the traditional Tulsi plant. I do hope you like this creation and I’m eager to find out what you think about it!
“Courage is the most important of all virtues because without courage you can’t practise any other virtue consistently.”