Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
In a service led by Eric Lott in a nearby Church, he explored the meaning of the text "Allow the Children to come to me"--which has been a theme that seems to appear often in the context of a society where play in the form of sports seems to have an even more important role in cultural life than prayer. Religion is often thought of as something essentially joyless, a duty that has to be performed, out of fear of a God who seems to often forbid the very things that give us pleasure. This could be the legacy of a very puritanical understanding of religion, which seems not to celebrate the body, and all that the senses enjoy. The child in all of us is essentially playful. This has certainly been an important aspect of Hindu thought, where Creation is understood as arising out of the Divine playfulness. As an artist I feel that this is something we need to re-discover.
Eric Lott, ordained in the Church of South India, often exercises his priestly role in the local Church of Old Dalby. There are also other small Churches scattered in the folds of the hills and woodlands of this part of the country. These often go back a thousand years. Even though British society is now very secularized, there is a sense of belonging to this very English form of cultural life, where the local Church still acts as a focal point. The building is part of the landscape, and has acted as an axis around which community life in the countryside has revolved over many centuries.
View of Dalby in the Wold (Old Dalby)
During my recent travels in the U.K. I tried to record some of my impressions in the sketch book that I carry with me. In a sense this journey has been a continuation of my earlier expedition in the Wyanad not so far from my home in a village near to Bangalore. That trip I kept an account of under the title "Honey Gatherers". The concept of food gathering, which goes back to our ancient migrant cultures can be understood in a new way as we become Global citizens. Travelling abroad has always been a source of inspiration to writers, painters, and others for whom crossing boundaries both geographic and cultural is an enriching experience. In the following images I hope to express some of my own thoughts related to travelling abroad, and also to finding new ways of discovering the spirit of a place.