Have you ever understood what’s the significance of motifs that are carved on to your lamp or the Tanjore painting that’s hung in your living room, or your favourite salad bowl? The motif can be of a hamsa bird or a creeper or an elephant.
“There are two ways of looking at designs — one is how a design pleases your eyes and the other is to go beyond the designs. Indian art is different from traditional Western art because most of us consider art as a medium to build deeper beliefs. Our food, dance, music, temples, mythology, etc, are closely connected to our beliefs. In Western countries, they use it for political, economic and social purposes. Many have studied the significance of designs and motifs in the West. In India, the study and research are mostly within academics," says Pradeep.
So, what are the different types of motifs he will discuss about? "I will be talking about the significance and philosophy of South Indian motifs that are used in arts and crafts, why artisans love to work on elephant motifs, how Ganesha motif has evolved over the years (well, gods too have popularity charts!) and so on. Apart from motifs, I will also talk about how a person can differentiate between a Tanjore painting and a Kerala mural painting,” explains the historian.
There is a general assumption that in Indian art no motifs are there by chance. Our forefathers would have a better understanding of it. “The current generation lacks the knowledge and that’s why this talk is more helpful for youngsters. Tanjore painting mainly concentrates on Hindu deities and saints. So, once you buy a Tanjore painting, it is up to you to consider it as a religious object or a work of art. If you understand the meaning of motifs on it, you will be able to appreciate it in a different way," Pradeep points out.