BETWEEN GOD AND THE BODY
“When God took the clay from mother earth HE made a body that was without soul in fact after which he breathed life into it and invoked the creative force from the left rib cage...”
Jegananthan Ramachanram is an artist who has been involved in the Malaysian and International arts scene for 32 years. To be honest, I have not had a chance to be personally acquainted with him. However, as I am the art curator at the National Art Gallery I understand his artwork 'Fall Out Of The Garden Of Life (1998) which has become part of our national collection. So when I was asked to write and share my views on his solo exhibition 'Mirroring The Center…the science of positive vibrations, which incidentally is his 10th solo exhibition, I took it as an honor and privilege.
It’s very ironic to understand part of the pleasure that is shared through his paintings. Man can only appreciate light when he is in a place of darkness, to appreciate the joys of food when he has no choice but to hold back the yearnings of hunger and to appreciate happiness when having passed a time filled with sadness. Understanding the meaning of the creator by understanding the creation... this is how he mirrors his process of creation through his artworks.
I see love and compassion in all his artworks…
Ganesha, women, the heavenly peacock, the heavenly gardens, light... these are the images that Jeganathan includes in his artwork. If men use weapons like the blade, the spear and gunpowder, to attack and wage war, his arsenal of love and images in this artwork, creates an impact on the movement of humanity and peace.
The 18th century romantics at that
time, used art, literature and the intellect as a movement (Romantic Art) in
reaction to the real world's industrial revolution and the social upheavals of
that time aimed at the bourgeois in terms of social norm and national politics.
Through the poetry and art of William Blake one could see how these artworks
served as a symbolic reaction to the French Revolution and slavery in America
by protesting against slavery and inspiring love and humanity.
However if we look at the works of Jeganathan both past and present – which includes his poetry and his visual work, the narrative is not just romantic, sensual, spiritual and religious. Using the axis where the sciences and religion come together, Jeganathan has the ability to critique as an artist who responds to his surroundings from the social, political and economic aspect.
His works 'The Guardian and the Angel' and 'The New World Unmasked' are amongst his works that uses the image of a woman in the composition as the subject matter to his artwork. If you look at “ The World Unmasked”, Jeganathan elevates the position of the woman in the capacity of a mother to a higher level as the shaper of future generation. With the composition featuring the woman balancing herself with arms out stretched whilst being upside down, it is clear Jegananthan has his own view on the matriarchal system both in society and social context. Just like his poem - …and the child suckling the mother,… not only drinks milk but the very essence of life, in this world the mother no more loses her beauty, the artist lives art and the physicians saves lives… which ends with the verse that states… and there she was so majestic… that my sight bowed in reverence… the hen women in the silence call, woke my spirit. Through this piece Jeganathan looks at the situation and status of the mother in a place where her surroundings is filled with pressure and impatience of numerous conflicts and society’s everyday activity.
According to the scholar Johann Jacob Bachofen who lifted the status of the mother in his book called 'Mother Right', Bachofen analyses the myth and symbols of the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians of ancient times, from history of the world to the new patriarchal structures in society. Through history and the norms of the world an understanding of the role of the mother as key for the building of society and its culture. It’s here that the mother is the leader of the family, the governor and a great goddess. Bachofen also believes that matrichal societies are the earliest forms of democracy where the love and comfort from a mother is one of the main moral principles, with this moral standard beginning from birth, as the person grows up and until it forms a societal group both in the populous and the social structures. In fact, from Bachofen’s research the mother has a role in the formation principles of motherhood and fatherhood and has a connection with human evolution. A mother's love is the seed that grows love and altruism, and has a base in the growth of universal humanism. A mother loves unconditionally ..
Also looking at his other artworks like “Akash Ganesh, Muruga and Window Within Time “ shows the gods who symbolically bring light to life and nature in protecting man through the stories and narrative that is a reflection of the teachings of Hinduism.
Mirroring the Center… the science of positive vibrations by Jeganathan will offer a different perspective when seeing the artworks created. Apart from the beautiful images, the narrative, the colors, composition, the usage of lines that seem to glow is an interesting concept in his work. This ‘light’ in his artwork seem to resonate with energy around the arranged images, that indirectly brings the viewer along on the narrative.
Without being obsessive, there are too many things that I am unable to put into words in this piece. Whatever the theory or comparison that come from Jeganathan's work I feel there is an energy that exudes love and comfort for humanity. Blissful Raga that comforts the soul.