Wednesday, February 13, 2013

She came home on Mahalaya...

It all began one July afternoon in 2011, while having chai on our terrace in Bangalore, 
Mr. Husband and I were reminiscing about our respective childhood days spent in Calcutta, West Bengal. {Yes, both of us had Grandparents who lived in the ‘City of Joy’}

The rich culture, the distinct architecture, the warm people and the simple daily life in the land of the Goddess is so deeply engrained in our memories that we wanted it to be part of our lives today. To be depicted in the form of art that could be cherished everyday. Forever.

With each painting that Dithi Mukherjee uploaded on her blog, we knew that she was the only one who could bring our memories alive with strokes of her paint saturated with Bengal folk-art and mythology.

Dithi Mukherjee needs no introduction but let me try.
She is a self-taught artist and a print-maker from West Bengal, India living in Geneva, Switzerland. Her paintings are inspired by the rich traditions of India, her childhood memories, her experiences in the magical land of Bengal, the folk art and the music of the Bauls… 

Her unique style of painting has the viewer getting lost in the eyes that are nectar-filled pools of beauty.

Away from home.
The unabashed use of a vibrant palette of colours, the Bengal influence makes Dithi's work very exclusive.
Kumortully Ghats 
Mother and daughter.

Her talent weaves magic on anyone who looks at these canvases steeped in vibrant hues.

On a personal level, I met Dithi online via Vineeta’s blog in 2009 and there was an instant connection.
A creative connection. 
A connection fueled by our love for India, the great admiration for our culture and traditions. 
A connection shared with many cups of steaming hot masala chai over the internet. 
A connection based on our love for the beauty of life. 
A connection based on the highest regard for each other’s creative work.

We commissioned Dithi to paint for us amidst her hectic travels between Geneva and India and our imminent move to Minnesota.


For us, Calcutta is our favourite Bonedi draped in the traditional soft Bengal handloom saree, the Shanka pola (White & Red Bangles), a hand fan for those hot humid summers, the black & white flooring on which we as kids ran with abandon during our summer vacations. 


Few weeks before Durga Pujo, 2012 with each exchange of mails, with each shared thought, with each experience, with each stroke of her brush the Bonedi was getting transformed into someone mystical, someone magical, someone embodying the supreme feminine power. 

She was becoming the Goddess
She was becoming Durga.
She was becoming Maa.


In October, 2012 Dithi was leaving for India to be with her family for the Pujos and she mailed the painting of Maa just before she left.

Each day passed filled with the anticipation of Maa’s arrival. 
....and then finally.

A beautiful golden handwritten note by Dithi.

She arrived!

Maa arrived on Mahalaya
{The auspicious day that heralds the advent of Goddess Durga, the beginning of the Navaratris}

Dithi elevated the painting to a completely superlative creative level with her interpretations, the profusion of colours on the canvas, the lotus-petal eyes to drown in, the spring-green ‘pakhi’ Her consort, the crimson-coloured fingertips, the Bangla composition by Rabindranath Tagore that runs along like an intricate silk border that holds the painting so delicately.


Maa's space in our humble abode.

The birdcage on the camphor chest is representative of the profound composition 'Khanchar Pakhi Chhilo' by Rabindranath Tagore depicted in the painting.
Here is the translation.


Meanwhile in Calcutta, Dithi helped me get a bunch of traditional Bengali Sindoor Daanis’ {Containers for storing Vermillion powder} which I wanted to be part of Maa’s corner in our home.

Along with the Sindoor Danis came Tara Maa's Magical Padukas. 





I have mentioned before in many of the previous posts that whenever art in any form comes home: It is a blessing. 

With Maa coming home to us, in our new home, in a new country, we feel completely blessed!

When the ochre lights come on in the evening.

Thank you Dithi Mukherjee, for giving us Maa!

Hop over to Dithi's blog to read her post on the creation of Maa.

( Copyrighted Images by Arch, Painting by Dithi Mukerjee. Please don't use without permission)

40 comments:

Pree Basu said...

This is so mesmerizing. The Maa and the way you have narrated such a soulful association with her creator- the wonderful artist. Love every bit of the way you have created a little Bengal in your home. <3

Smi said...

Soo beautiful. I follow your blog and page faithfully..it is always so worth it.
Enough said.

Once Upon A Tea Time said...

She is beautiful. It was lovely reading both your stories and to know the love with which the painting has been created.

The Ketchup Girl said...

I haven;t been tongue tied in a long time. I usually have smart things to say. But What i saw here and on Di's blog, has shut me up. Spellbound. Speechless.

Aarohi Singh said...

Wow! That is one stunning painting. The attention to detail, the colour, the penmanship...
She is beautiful!
I love how you have displayed the piece Arch.

This and Dithi's blog post are the first things I read this morning. Made my day!

Admin said...

Simply Awesome!! I have been a follower of your blog for a long time, Archana! I have to say I discovered my love for all things Indian when I started following your blog :)Keep it coming! Also, waiting for your third home tour :)

Pacchai Milagai said...

Dithi's best work yet and might I say, one of your best posts yet. Lovely to see glimpses of the classic "Style a la Archana", reflected in your new MN home. You are once again inspiring me to start blogging. Keep them coming. Pacchai.

Little Red said...

Beautiful! I'll be certain to check out more by this artist. Her work is stunning.

Geetha said...

Excellent work by Dithi....awe struck!!! Given the due...in your decor, very nice!

Anuradha Shankar said...

Absolutely stunning!!!! What amazing work! its a blessing indeed!!

Priti Singh said...

This is so beautiful Archana! Love the painting too much and the way you have clicked it is marvelous. Love Maa!

VIDYA said...

'Maa',the 'Pakhi',Tagore's magic with words,that pretty birdcage below the painting just brings each other so much more alive....its so much more than a story there...

The painting is just everything superlative!
Both the posts indeed complete the circle of love:)

Domestic Goddess said...

Truly this painting is alive....no words to express the feeling of a bliss state or divinity. My entrance wall is called dithis wall as it also has the divine presence of her prints of maa Durga, goddess Lakshmi, saraswati n ganpati. Each time when I enter my house or just pass by they look at me n I thank dithi for giving us the feel of divine presence thru her paintings. Archana the way u have done the decor around this painting, whole area has such blissful aura to it.

gloob123 said...

Very Nice Photogrphy...

gloob

Anonymous said...

I spent my early years in Calcutta too and what you described is exactly how I remember the city and its people. Dithi's talent is divine. As is yours. Enough said :)
- Ashwini

Bong Mom said...

The painting is beautiful. The details are so exquisite that I can visualize the lady transformed to Ma Durga in her North Calcutta home.
Love Dithi's work always.

And her place set up in your home too is perfect

Reshma Sanjeev said...

Oh..Its a beautiful painting, Archana. You truly are blessed to have it at your home.

Reshma Sanjeev said...

Oh...Its a beautiful painting, Archana. And a beautiful post too.

Anupama Puneeth said...

Everything about this post is beautiful...the painting, your narration and how beautiful you have displayed it.
Dithi is truly a blessed artist.
And Arch I totally agree with your quote..these arts are a blessing to any home.

Vasudha Narasimhan said...

Beautiful painting!!!! beautiful post and the place is done so well...loved dithi's work!!!!

Ruby said...

Absolutely stunning painting and loved the corner created for Maa. Didn't know about Dithi earlier, hopping over to her blog now.

Ruby
http://rubyspalette.blogspot.in






Anitha said...

Hi Archana,

With each post of yours my admiration and respect for you grows!
What a stunning piece of art! Your artistic arrangement adds beauty to the gorgeous painting! Kudos to both you creative ladies!

~Anitha

GB said...

This post (and countless others before it)was perfection. Thank you for feeding my soul.

Anpu Somanath said...

so very beautiful...wow, the painting is gorgeous and loved the way the painting came about...

Anonymous said...

ARCHANA & DITHI,
You both are truly awesome!!
Dithi,Asalways loved your work.
Archana you are a born narrator.I could visualize as I read your blog.
keep up the good work!!

Vidya @ Whats Ur Home Story said...

BEAUTIFUL! I've got nothing more to add.

Dimple said...

Beautiful... the writing , the house and the photography :).. Love reading your blog

Nayana@CherishDreamLive said...

I love love evry pictures. very beautiful post and wonderful painting..awesome!!

Indu Seela said...

What penmanship! one artist's tribute to another. Lovely! both the painting and your unveiling of the painting.

jaajaabor said...

HI archana,
what a lovely post and i admire your decor. you have brought the warmth of an indian home to US. Especially loving the door frames, they can't be original to the house ......

vineeta said...

I LOVED LOVED the way you told us the whole story of how this beautiful painting came into being and shared with us so much of how you feel and how you put together a whole story, The sindoor daani's and Taara maa's padukas were a touch of genius and how important it is for you to support something so powerfully beautiful. So it is complete. Thank you so much for being who you are and for doing wha you do. I have said it before, but I so mean it.

vineeta said...

And how can commenting be done without speaking of Dithi and her work. I have watched dumbfounded as I have seen the artist in her grow from strength to strength. I think she is the only inspiration I need to show how an artists growth and what she puts in can be so evident in the results and simultaneously how much is possible at many intangible levels. Much respect. Much.

Daikin India said...

We second that, thank you for giving us Maa. Mesmerising work by Dithi! Does Dithi have an online shop also for these paintings?

Pallavi Adusumilli said...

The painting is gorgeous! But pray tell, how did you get that fabulous wood carved door here in the US????? I am awestruck by that much much more!

Arch at Rang said...

Thanks each and everyone for your appreciation of Dithi's exquisite work.

We are truly blessed !

Pallavi~ It's not a door but a cupboard with mirror on it. It came with us from India.

Deb said...

Oh my goodness, love it, the art is so beautiful and so are her surroundings in your home.

gruhkhoj said...

great interiors, l loves it...

Kiranmayi.K said...

Beautiful, beautiful! Loved the accompaniments to the exotic painting! By the way, please let me know where u sourced the cute lil "padukas!"

Sruthi said...

Beautiful painting and loved the way you'v put it together

Chandan said...

Archana, This is a gorgeous gorgeous post. Love those sindoor dani's.. needless to say Dee's work is superlative !