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A Forsaken Coast

I had just finished packing for a trip I was planning. T’s, shorts, towel, brush, chargers, medicines and sunglasses. It was all done and felt good. I glanced over at the clock and it was little past midnight. I had to head out in just four hours. Sleeping was never an option when it had come to this place. The first ever article I posted on this blog was based upon some of the very firsts experiences I had had by traveling to this beach, Bakkhali. At that moment, I knew whatever I had gotten in my head for the place was going to be looking good on paper. So much so that when I re-read it now, the primordial emotions toward the place feel reincarnated once again. Ebb tides, diseased sea, heavy breeze, grey beach, red meadows, promiscuous shrubs, miles of salt ceders scattered about some mediocre woods, high tides, and home to hundreds of wildlife including us, the humans, guarded by the lady as well as the guardian spirit of the forests, Dhamra …

A Young Director and his only film

I came across a brief write up by one of my acquaintances on Facebook   a few days back. “…Asia is the place where cinema is still breathing a fresh whiff of significant cinema – something which current European cinema is visibly lacking!”, it concluded. He listed a bunch of directors from different parts of Asia who are shining with their works today. But what caught my eyes was this line: “Sadly, I couldn’t add Bo Hu’s name.” I asked him if it’s because of the fact Hu Bo is no more. His answer was ‘yes’. ‘An elephant sitting still” is the first and the last feature film by Chinese director Hu Bo. He killed himself during the final editing procedure of the film, in 2017, at the age of 29. The film came out in 2018 and immediately gained attention from world audience. Hu Bo was a student of Bela Tarr, the Hungarian auteur. The film opens up in a morning with a story about an elephant, narrated in a voice of one of the …

The amazing works of Julia Margaret Cameron

In 1863, right after her 48th birthday, Julia Margaret Cameron received her first camera as a gift from her daughter and son-in-law with the words, “It may amuse you, Mother, to try to photograph during your solitude at Freshwater.” The gift came at a moment to Cameron when her husband was investigating his family’s failed coffee crop in Caylon, Sri Lanka, when all their sons were grown and their only daughter had married and moved away. Within a year, the mother of six, a deeply religious and well read Cameron became a member of the Photographic Societies of London and Scotland and the camera became far more than an amusement to her: “From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour,” she wrote, “and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.” In her photography, Cameron strove to capture beauty. She wrote, “I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied.” Favoring lenses that …

Maborosi and memory

Maborosi, the first feature film by contemporary Japanese maestro Kore-eda Hirokazu. Yumiko, the protagonist, is a girl when we first meet her. She lives with her parents and grandmother in Osaka. Her grandmother leaves the home to go back to the village she is from before dying. Yumiko tries to stop her but fails. Her grandmother never comes back. She met a boy with a bicycle named Iuko and the story cuts forward to several years when they are married and have a new-born child. Their life is happy and charming until Yumiko becomes a widow. After five years or so a well-wisher of Yumiko finds a match for her named Tamio who lives with his daughter and his father in a village by the sea far away from Osaka. Yumiko moves there with her son to start a new life. I sat still in my chair even after the end credits were gone and the faint hint of light was clearing out the darkness of the screen. I was in my room and it …

Listen to these Sounds of Mother Earth

On a recent trip to an ‘isolated mountain’, I happened to realize how insignificant we are in this vastness of space. Traveling at the speed of light, it would take almost 100,000 years to cross the Milky Way. So if you imagine a particle of dust upon this gargantuan planet, you are still nowhere near to perceive how infinitesimally small a position we occupy in this universe. Yet, here on Earth, not everyone of us are reinforced when we think about our place in this space. Some of us even dip ourselves in the faith that Earth is flat and everything else around us is revolved around this celestial being to cope with this implausible vastness. But in the grand scheme of things, the truth is, we are just too small. Reflecting on this vastness and our insignificance within this universe often leads to a philosophical question and that is: Should one feel dreary for being too small? Because this idea of banality gives an immense spur to nihilism, that’s for sure. For all we …

From Revenge to a Reconciliation Factory

When you’re an adult, one of the many things you miss the most is probably the ingenuousness of your childhood and the simplicity it once bestowed upon your forsaken infancy. Gone are the simple and colorful splashes of a livelihood that once made you happy. But you’ve always gotta move forward; well, that’s the only option!! And with coming-to-age technologies and social media it’s getting even harder everyday to keep up with the simplicity that you once experienced. We just can’t seem to hold on to and get enough of them. And it’s not just about an intricate lifestyle but everything aesthetic we are revolved around with. From a piece of art to a fragment of music, we tend to seek the steepest ravine to appreciate the art and the artist. Walking into the auditorium on Anya Theater’s Revenge Factory, directed by Debashish, there’s an instant feeling of proximity conveyed upon the audiences as soon as the curtain unravels. A utility pole entangled with wires with an almost fuzzy yellow light hanging from it. Just …

Of Swan Lake

Back when I was a kid, another fascinating thing about an animated series was the music. The weekends were full of joints from Justice League, Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, Gargoyles, Cédric, Oswald, Bob the Builder, Noddy, Looney Tunes and many others that I probably don’t even remember the name of. Back when there was not really a thing called internet to take over the control of your attention span. No annoying notifications from your IG or Twitter to ponder upon. So everything you would do, especially, aesthetically, you would do in absolute wonder. You know the Richard David James’ quote, “The holy grail for a music fan is to hear music from another planet, which has not been influenced by us whatsoever. Or, even better, from lots of different planets. The closest we got to that was before the Internet, when people didn’t know of each other’s existence. Now, that doesn’t really happen.” There was a minimal beauty in grasping an album by heart. The one album that you’d know every word of or …

A Brief History of SELF-TAUGHT & OUTSIDER ART

Outsider art had its origins in the psychiatric collections of 19th-century European psychiatric hospitals when some psychiatrists started to collect artworks produced by their patients. But it was originally recognized as a specific category of artistic production in the 20th century. Interest in the art of the mentally ill, along with the children, was first demonstrated by the members of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group: Auguste Macke, Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky and others. But after the death of Macke and Marc during World War I, Paul Klee continued to draw inspiration from the primitives. Klee’s interest in outsider productions can be traced to 1912, when, in a review of a Der blaue Reiter (The blue rider) exhibition, he urged the public to take the art of children and the mad seriously. In 1921, Doctor and psychiatrist Walter Morgenthaler published his book Ein Geisteskranker als Künstler (A Psychiatric Patient as Artist/Madness and Art) about Adolf Wölfli, one of his patients and one of the first artists to be associated with the Art Brut or …

Motherhood: Maman by Louise Bourgeois

Art, at its best, has been an expression of the human experience of life and the theme of mother and child has been a central motif in art for centuries. The Virgin Mary has presented the ideal of a protective mother to which women have aspired. But in the age of post-Freudian psychoanalysis, motherhood has become more eccentric and complex than ever. Louise Bourgeois was born on 25th December 1911 in Paris, France. She was the second child of three born to parents Joséphine Fauriaux and Louis Bourgeois. Taking up art was a way for her to fight specific fears. The fear and trauma of abandonment that she suffered not only through her untimely birth on Christmas Day but also on her mother’s death in 1932, when she was only twenty-one. Louise drew on painful memories of childhood traumas to create her tribute to her mother. In 1996, The Maman was created as a part of Bourgeois’s inaugural commission of The Unilever Series (2000), in the Turbine Hall at London’s Tate Modern. It’s a bronze, …

A Brief History of Christmas Lights

On his way back to home from a sermon on one winter evening, the 16th century German professor of theology and the seminal figure in protestant reformer, Martin Luther was awed by the elegance of stars shining amidst the evergreen trees. Fascinated by the spectacle he erected a tree in his own house and adorned it with lighted candles. It is believed that Martin Luther was the first person who added candles to an evergreen. However, the ritual of using the evergreens during winter festivals predates Christianity. Pagans used evergreen fir branches to illustrate life in the dead of winter as it would make them think of the spring to come. However, the tradition of illuminating the Christmas tree with candles approximately began in late 17th century by Germans. Even though Martin Luther had lit the first tree a century earlier, the first documented reference of lighting the Christmas tree dated in 17th century. In 18th century, the upper class homes in German would decorate their trees with candles which at that time was a …