Thursday, 11 August 2011

Floating with Colors ...

How often do you come across an art piece that amazes you every moment you see it, makes you wonder about the world around, and yet is simple and elegant? I go closer trying to comprehend why the simple Turkish Ebru painting of a red budding flower overwhelms me every time I look at it. As I smell a faint fragrance of nature coming from the canvas, I remember the day I first saw it…

The hall is dimly lit. The soft Turkish music is trying to break the serene silence. As I enter the hall, I see Hicabi surrounded by dozens of colors – red, blue, yellow, green, black... The fragrance of the colors has filled the room. I close my eyes trying to fathom its contents – flowers, foliage, sea, breeze… I am astonished to see Hicabi holding a wooden needle and staring at his own reflection on the clear surface of water kept in a flat tray. I am confused. I was anticipating seeing an hour long painting exhibition by Hicabi; but there are no paintings around. Seeing my dazed expressions, Hicabi tells me to stand near him and unleashes, what I call, his magic.

A green drop touches the clear surface of water, and quickly starts expanding its reach on its surface. What looked like an ever-spreading green circle soon comes to a standstill. After some green drops, he puts a red, a blue, and a yellow drop on the water. Each drop tries to attain its own space in the confined boundaries of the tray and finally stabilizes, as if contended with its achievement. I watch intrigued by this dynamic contest - some drops on top of others, some freely moving on the clear water, some confused whether to interact with other colors or stay aloof. Isn’t this how we often view our world - treating each individual as a separate independent entity that tries to expand in the constraints of the limited world and interacts with others along the way. But are we really disconnected with each other? Are these isolated circles stable and meaningful?

Suddenly I see Hicabi bringing his wooden needle towards the tray and feel unsettled by the uncertain consequences of its force on the vibrantly colored innocent circles. Trying to tame the scattered clusters of colors, he delicately moves the needle across the green circles. Miraculously, the colors flow with the charisma of the needle, precisely abiding to the guiding force. In just a few minutes, what looked like a collection of independent meaningless circles unite to form a magnificent flower. The flower expresses its royalty in the fluidity of the solid colors. May be the world is more meaningful when individuals connect to a guiding force, when they find a common point of convergence amongst all their differences. Hicabi continues to patiently work on each connected circles and shapes them meticulously into sharp elongated leaves and petals.

Just when I indulge in the splendid beauty of the flower, I am bewildered to see Hicabi covering the tray with a blank white sheet. I assume that this paper would certainly mix all the colors, smudging the majestic flower into an unrecognizable play of colors. Hicabi continues to gently pat the blank sheet and smoothly drags it out of the water tray. Miraculously, the flower comes on the sheet – each petal, each stroke, each color. He hands over the painting to me and stares at his reflection on the clear surface of water again.

The flower has become everlasting for me. The bright, vibrant and warm colors of the Ebru painting soothes me as I sit in my room, although its significance is camouflaged amidst the plethora of other decorative pieces in the room.

No comments:

Post a Comment