Wednesday, March 11, 2015


P a d a:
The Feet and the Ground Beneath
Visual Voyages in Cultural Buddhism
16 to 21 March 2015
(A collaborative art show in connection with the Workshop on Cultural Buddhism organized by the Department of Philosophy, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady on 19th and 20th March 2015)

Kerala Lalitakala Akademi Art Gallery
Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit Campus, Kalady, Ernakulam Dist, Kerala 683574.

Featuring the works of artists:
John Varghese, Akhil K Chandran, Sajo Joseph, Shyam A, Arun Ravi, Madhu V, Pratheesh C V, Jyothilal T G, Dr Shaju Nellai, Johnson Veloor, Jayan A K, Satheesh K K, Kavitha Balakrishnan, T Murali, Unnikrishnan Paravur, Anirudh Raman, Saju Thuruthil, Ajith Paravur, Bipin Balachandran, Seethal C P, Jayin K G, Ajithan Puthumana, Prasad K P, Prakashan K S, Nishad M P Suresh K. Nair, and Dr Ajay Sekher

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Theme Note: Towards a New Ethical Aesthetics and Compassion
The visual arts in India and Kerala have evolved from the ancient roots of the egalitarian and aesthetic legacies of Buddhism and its various cultural manifestations across various regions in native hues and textures. The rootedness of Indian art and architecture in the Ajanta and Kalinga schools of Buddhist aesthetics is dexterously inscribed deep in to our cultural history and social formations as the historic rock edicts of Asoka on ethics and the welfare state. The place name Kalady itself signify the footprint or Sri Pada of the compassionate one that was revered as a sacred cultural symbol all over Asia. The Workshop on Cultural Buddhism is exploring the plural and polyphonic legacies of this indigenous enlightenment tradition in its micro cultural subtleties. As part of this philosophical and cultural enquiry artists from various parts of Kerala have joined hands to exhibit their paintings and sculpture/installations in this group show titled Pada. It signifies the Sri Pada of the Buddha primarily, and also invokes the place name Kalady. It represents the feet of knowledge, the body politic, poetry and other material manifestations and foundations of culture, society and the micro locations of rootedness in the visual cultural chronotopes.
Artists from various walks of life and various regions of Kerala are presenting their works in this collaborative group art show that forms a contemporary visual cultural unison. The works in general depict Buddhist themes and motifs in covert and overt ways. The imagery and symbolic treatment of the themes and contexts are largely drawn from the rudimentary Buddhist cultures with its regional and indigenous flavours in myriad visual representations. It forms an artistic sojourn and visual voyage with and in cultural Buddhism or various little materializations of buddhisms in vernacular and minor accents. Some of the works are directly depicting the enlightened one and creating a new aesthetics of ethics, compassion and Maitri. Some other works are exploring the sub narrative and deconstructive possibilities of Buddhist visual cultures in allegorical and self critical ways.
The group art show as a whole represents and renews the visual culture of the contemporary art practice and provides a serious critique of contemporary culture and some of the cultural Nationalist formations and violent consolidations in the present. It could be contextualized as a cultural resistance and a polyphonic visual critique of totalitarian desires and genocidal violence growing in our society that are eating away the secular and pluralistic social dynamism of Kerala and its democratic renaissance culture that effectively countered the hegemonic ideology of feudal patriarchy, caste and Varna barbarism. The works and the show as a concerted cultural act tries to recover the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of indigenous traditions of egalitarianism, enlightenment and compassion that are deeply rooted in our soil as in the place names and the people at the bottom.
All those who are interested in visual culture and its resisting power and all those who believe in the liberating aesthetics of change and deliverance are welcome to this artistic and creative venture with a contemporary cutting edge and critical perspective on the present, past and future. It is part of the people’s inevitable life struggle for survival and the defence of the ethical, political and the aesthetic. The aesthetics that is inseparable from the materiality of cultures and politics, an inherent and organic aesthetics that is linked to the inevitable life struggles and lived realities of the people; art that is firmly rooted in the ground beneath our feet. Let us hope that we can survive these hard times as a people through the power and potential of human imagination and creativity, the power to dream and make anew, brave new worlds in near future. Related discussions are expected in the workshop as well. For further details on the workshop visit:

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