Tantra Song: Rare 17th-Century Indian Paintings That Look Like 20th-Century Western Art

by Maria Popova

What a deadly bus accident has to do with Paul Klee, Paris, and the poetry of abstraction.

tantrasongWe’ve previously explored some fragments of the spectrum of art inspired by the Hindu tradition, from beautiful artisanal artwork based on Indian mythology to Meena women’s Mandana public art to a Pixar animator’s playfully stylized, Westernizedtakes on Hindu deities. Now, from the fine folks at Siglio, who brought us the lovely Everything Sings, comes Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan — a striking collection of rare, abstract Tantric paintings based on 17th-century illustrations from Indian religious texts that bridge Eastern spirituality with Western 20th-century art in their haunting reminiscence of the likes of Paul Klee, Agnes Martin, and Daniel Buren.

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the tribal groups of orissa

The Tribal Groups of Orissa

By Kimberly Coole

As I mentioned in my last blog, I thought it would be nice to have a look back at my trip to Orissa a few years ago. Again, rather than break down the trip day by day I’ll give you some information about the tribes I was lucky enough to encounter and then show you the images that I managed to capture. Of all the states in India, Orissa has the largest number of tribes, as many as 62, however I met just 4 tribal groups – the Bonda, the Dongria Kondh, the Paraja and the Kutia Kondh. It’s worth mentioning that access to some tribal areas is still tightly restricted, and hopefully this will protect the tribes’ ancient ways and practices.

The Bonda are an ancient tribe of people numbering approximately 12,000 who live in the isolated hill regions of the Malkangiri district of South-Western Orissa. The tribe is one of the oldest and most primitive in mainland India; their culture has changed little for more than a thousand years. Their isolation and known aggressiveness continue to preserve their culture despite the pressures of an expanding Indian population. Perhaps what makes the group stand out the most is the fact that the Bonda are generally only semi-clothed, the women wear colourfully beaded head-dresses and necklaces, thick silver neck bands and a small piece of material around their waist.

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500 years of Women in Western Art

For a list of the 90 portraits used in this video, visit http://www.maysstuff.com/womenid.htm

Women Are Heroes

WOMEN ARE HEROES: A Global Portrait of Strength in Hardship by French Guerrilla Artist-Activist JR

by Maria Popova

Poignant and powerful portraits of physical and emotional survival amidst atrocity.

womenareheroesIn 2012, French guerrilla street artist JR won the $100,000 TED Prize for his Inside Out project — a global participatory project seeking to inspire civic engagement through art. But JR’s arguably most provocative project dates back to 2008, when he embarked on an ambitious quest to document the dignity of women in conflict zones and violent environments in his mural-sized portraits, exhibited both as lo-fi public space installations in the local communities whose spirit they capture and in glossy galleries around the world — “a project with many images and few words.” Women Are Heroes, a beautiful addition to these 7 favorite books on street art, collects several dozen of JR’s poignant portraits of women from Brazil, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Kenya, India, and Cambodia, each accompanied by a moving personal story.


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