SPEAK­ING ART!

Society - - CONTENTS - By CSS Latha

Award-win­ning artist Pratik­sha Apurv who hap­pens to be spir­i­tual guru Osho’s niece, has come out with a unique cof­fee ta­ble book – The Mys­tic and Her Colours. So­ci­ety re­veals the artist and her book that com­bines her paint­ings and ar­ti­cles of spir­i­tual na­ture.

Award-win­ning artist Pratik­sha Apurv who hap­pens to be spir­i­tual guru Osho’s niece, has come out with a unique cof­fee ta­ble book – The Mys­tic and Her Colours. So­ci­ety re­veals the artist and her book that com­bines her paint­ings and ar­ti­cles of spir­i­tual na­ture.

In­dia’s fa­mous can­vas queen Pratik­sha Apurv is not a new name to art lovers. This Na­tional award win­ner is fa­mous in two ways – one for be­ing the dar­ling niece of spir­i­tual guru Osho and the other as the most pro­lific can­vas artist who has the max­i­mum me­dia rep­re­sen­ta­tion for her con­tri­bu­tion to art and spir­i­tu­al­ity. A study of her art is in it­self a guide to spir­i­tual in­ter­pre­ta­tion and what’s more, Pratik­sha’s works and her con­strual of them has been re­cently pub­lished as a sleek cof­fee ta­ble book ti­tled The Mys­tic and Her Colours. Since 2011, Pratik­sha has been a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to a weekly spir­i­tual news­pa­per pub­lished by a renowned me­dia house which has now been col­lated into this unique cof­fee ta­ble book com­bin­ing two gen­res, writ­ing and paint­ings in a sense de­fines her jour­ney and all the ex­pe­ri­ences of lis­ten­ing to the ex­is­tence. “When you have Osho’s vi­sion as com­pan­ion, the jour­ney is bound to be child­like, ab­so­lutely in­com­pa­ra­ble joy. It was such a de­light to have world-renowned film­maker Vishal Bhard­waj and play­back singer Rekha Bhard­waj for launch of the book in Mum­bai,” re­veals Pratik­sha. Vishal Bhard­waj pay­ing glow­ing trib­utes to this bril­liant ad­di­tion to ‘flaunt-me’ genre of pub­li­ca­tion, said, “I never knew that spir­i­tu­al­ity can be painted. I al­ways thought that spir­i­tu­al­ity was an in­her­ent ex­pres­sion. To give such a tone to spir­i­tu­al­ity that can­not be ex­pressed in words is very spe­cial. The si­lence that comes out can only be felt and not ex­pressed.” He fur­ther added, “Mu­sic too, I think, is on step short of si­lence. In fact, all the fine arts – mu­sic, paint­ing and po­etry – all lead us to si­lence, into noth­ing­ness, and this book is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of all that. It is po­etic, it is mu­si­cal and it is art or paint­ing on the sur­face – a com­bi­na­tion of all three.”

Quite aptly said that! The Mys­tic and Her Colours is not a mere colour­ful col­lage of an artist’s paint­ings show­cas­ing lines, colours and pat­terns. It is a vis­ual imag­ing of a man’s spir­i­tual jour­ney, giv­ing a sub­tle lead into the con­cealed and muted as­pects of the cos­mic se­crets to bet­ter the en­deav­our to evolve. Singer Rekha Bhard­waj hailed the work of art say­ing, “The book is too beau­ti­ful. I have no words to ex­plain. It’s to be ob­served and ab­sorbed.” She fur­ther added, “I un­der­stand from Pratik­sha that she lis­tens to Osho’s dis­courses and pre­pares her­self to start the paint­ing. Ev­ery paint­ing is a jour­ney by it­self.” Pratik­sha is most cer­tainly come to stand alone on top with her bril­liance as In­dia’s best-known con­tem­po­rary artists and spir­i­tual writ­ers. She has won the Na­tional Award for Paint­ing in 2015-16, and has held solo shows in ma­jor cities of In­dia. As men­tioned be­fore, this niece of spir­i­tual mas­ter was born into mys­ti­cal wealth and wears many hats. She took sanyas when she was just 11, and spent her grow­ing up years at the Osho com­mune in Pune and US. In the late 1980s, she ven­tured into fash­ion de­sign­ing and launched her cloth­ing la­bel ‘Oshonik’. Some of her clients in­cluded for­mer prime min­is­ter Atal Bi­hari Va­j­payee, crick­eter Kapil Dev and tabla mae­stro Zakir Hus­sain. De­spite be­ing a com­mer­cial suc­cess in the fash­ion world, Pratik­sha, a mys­ti­cal trav­eller, took to paint­ing in 2003 and soon be­came a pi­o­neer in med­i­ta­tive art, also known as ob­jec­tive art. Ru­mi­nates Pratik­sha, “Some­times I won­der whether Osho sowed the seeds for this book and for that mat­ter my jour­ney into art world when he held my tiny lit­tle hands and guided me to the world of sanyas at the age of 11.” For­tu­nately, while grow­ing up, she had a rich ex­po­sure of both the in­ner and outer world. Her sub­se­quent move to Ra­jneesh­pu­ram in USA af­forded her an­other op­por­tu­nity to wit­ness how a desert was turned into an oa­sis with love of a mas­ter. Peo­ple from var­i­ous na­tion­al­i­ties came to­gether un­der one roof to cre­ate a beau­ti­ful and har­mo­nious so­ci­ety, a com­mune that was vi­brant with true mean­ing of love, com­pas­sion and med­i­ta­tion. “Since I have my roots in Osho and my genes are that of Osho, I al­ways had this think­ing of cre­at­ing some­thing new, of­fer­ing some­thing unique to this world. And, I would like to say that with Osho’s bless­ings, I suc­ceeded in cre­at­ing a dif­fer­ent space when I first joined fash­ion world as a de­signer. For­mer Prime Min­is­ter Atal Bi­hari Va­j­payee is no more, but I fondly re­mem­ber how he liked the de­signs I did for him and even the se­lec­tion of colours for jacket.” Sim­i­larly, there were many well-known per­son­al­i­ties, who adored her Oshonik la­bel of clothes for its sim­plic­ity and in­tri­cate de­signs. “Ev­ery­thing just hap­pens, like it is pre-des­tined. My foray into art world from glitz and glam­our of fash­ion world too was pre-de­cided by the ex­is­tence. I just picked up a can­vas one fine morn­ing and started paint­ing. Hon­estly speak­ing, I never took any tech­ni­cal train­ing nei­ther for fash­ion de­sign­ing nor for paint­ings. Ev­ery­thing for me has been learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence di­rectly from the ex­is­tence. I did not at­tend a sin­gle

paint­ing class and learned the minute de­tails of art dur­ing this beau­ti­ful jour­ney,” she enu­mer­ates the process to per­fec­tion. Her long as­so­ci­a­tion with the late exVa­j­payee most cer­tainly bring pre­cious and fond mem­o­ries. It was Atalji who had launched her first ex­hi­bi­tion way back in 2007 in Delhi. “I re­mem­ber, Atalji was mostly keep­ing to him­self and was rarely go­ing out. When I dis­cussed with him about my plan to show­case an ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tled ‘Spir­i­tual Odyssey’, his eyes just bright­ened up. He felt very happy and read­ily agreed to in­au­gu­rate the ex­hi­bi­tion. He kept the promise and came to the gallery on the In­au­gu­ra­tion. I re­mem­ber it vividly that he was smil­ing and feel­ing very happy. He had asked me con­tinue my ‘Sadhna’.” Quite a recluse her­self, Pratik­sha each day dawns to give her an op­por­tu­nity to delve deep onto her in­ner odyssey. Soli­tude, si­lence and the can­vas, the only sound one hears is the track of Osho’s talks play­ing in her stu­dio. She loves spend­ing hours at end giv­ing shape to the words and thoughts of Osho in in­tri­cate and sym­met­ri­cal de­signs. One won­ders how, with­out any for­mal train­ing her works ex­hibit such a per­fect align­ment of in­tri­cate pat­terns, so ac­cu­rately ex­e­cuted on the huge can­vases that al­most seem like dig­i­tal print­ing at the end of it. The de­pic­tion of shad­ows and lights has a photo-fin­ish im­pact. Lit­tle won­der she has world-wide pa­trons of her art! Yet an­other or rather the core bless­ing that Pratik­sha is con­ferred with is the un­con­di­tional love and sup­port from her hus­band Swami Apurv. The soul-mates en­joy such an en­vi­able com­pat­i­bil­ity that it al­most seems like one-soul-two-bod­ies. Narayani Gane­san, daugh­ter of the leg­endary Tamil ac­tor Gem­ini Gane­san and the ed­i­tor of The Speak­ing Tree, says, “Though her work draws heav­ily from all that she has been ex­posed to, hav­ing spent her for­ma­tive years in Osho’s com­mune in Pune, the reg­u­lar out­put is to a con­sid­er­able ex­tent, be­cause of the im­mense en­cour­age­ment of Apurv, her friend, com­pan­ion and life part­ner, who is a great en­abler. Whether it is an ex­hi­bi­tion of Pratik­sha Apurv’s paint­ings or an event cel­e­brat­ing her work, he is al­ways there, be­hind the scenes, and by her side. It helps that they met dur­ing their days as fol­low­ers of Osho, seek­ing and dis­cov­er­ing not only ex­is­ten­tial truths but also each other, along the way!” The Mys­tic and Her Colours was con­ceived when Pratik­sha started writ­ing reg­u­lar columns elab­o­rat­ing on her paint­ings. As she was paint­ing and si­mul­ta­ne­ously writ­ing on spir­i­tual themes, the book fi­nally started tak­ing the shape. “The syn­the­sis of can­vas and white spa­ces be­tween the lines felt like my brush and pen had caught some­thing over­flow­ing from ex­is­tence. While my art­works in­spired by Osho’s vi­sion be­came colour­ful notes, the ar­ti­cles now part of this book func­tion as a flute. This unique book is an ex­am­ple that can­vas speaks too, but its lan­guage is that of a flower and I hope all the seek­ers can ex­pe­ri­ence its fra­grance.” In fact, the ar­ti­cles and art­works re­ally com­ple­ment each other. Dur­ing the ini­tial days of her paint­ings, there were cer­tain oc­ca­sion when she

needed to ex­plain a par­tic­u­lar theme on the can­vas. It dawned on her that in or­der to reach out to wider au­di­ence and the seek­ers of spir­i­tual jour­ney, she may need sup­port of an­other medium. And, thus be­gan the jour­ney of writ­ing reg­u­lar columns for var­i­ous pub­li­ca­tions. All of them were unique since she used to write the col­umn ex­plain­ing her paint­ing. The can­vas is the core and col­umn is the foun­tain around it. Read­ers just loved it and num­ber of views and hits on dig­i­tal ver­sion ac­com­pa­nied with com­ments in­deed mo­ti­vated her to write on al­most ev­ery theme that she have painted on the can­vas. “That is why I say The Mys­tic and Her Colours is a con­flu­ence of art­works and es­says are to­tally soaked in my un­cle Osho’s vi­sion, and al­lows read­ers to wit­ness the one­ness of ex­is­tence.” Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, in his fore­word to the book, made a spe­cial men­tion to her abil­ity to not only paint but also to write her thoughts on her mus­ings. “Guided by the ex­ter­nal wis­dom of her un­cle, she writes med­i­ta­tively to strike a bal­ance be­tween the outer and the in­ner worlds. Her writ­ings are sim­ply very pro­found and give us a peek into the di­vine and nudge us to awaken our state of be­ing.” The paint­ings fea­tured in the book are weaved to­gether with the lyri­cal prose, ex­plain­ing and elab­o­rat­ing on the themes and some­time ex­plain­ing sub­tle nu­ances of art. Her idea be­hind this first-of-its-kind cof­fee-ta­ble book com­bines two gen­res is to ex­plain a rad­i­cally new vi­sion for in­di­vid­ual growth. It also helps in redefin­ing var­i­ous di­men­sions of the spir­i­tual path and the su­tras of con­scious­ness for a joy­ful life that un­folds each and ev­ery mo­ment, in the here and now. “I am sure you will find these paint­ings il­lus­trat­ing pure empti­ness, a state of no-mind. And I hope words pen­e­trate the in­ner­most core of be­ing of the reader, cre­at­ing a syn­the­sis be­tween the in­ner and outer world. For me, each paint­ing is like a flower, and words il­lu­mine like a mag­i­cal lamp, shed­ding gen­tle light on the mys­ti­cal as­pects of my jour­ney with an ex­pres­sion of deep grat­i­tude to Osho, my un­cle and spir­i­tual mas­ter.” The heart-warm­ing re­sponse from art lovers, art crit­ics, me­dia and seek­ers af­ter the first ex­hi­bi­tion thrown open by Atalji ef­fec­tively paved the way for many more shows across the coun­try. She com­pleted 12 solo shows in ma­jor cities in­clud­ing Mum­bai, Chennai, Ban­ga­lore, Chandigarh, Goa and Ahmedabad. Prime Min­is­ter Modi had in­au­gu­rated the show at Gu­jarat’s cap­i­tal. “Dur­ing our dis­cus­sion be­fore the in­au­gu­ra­tion day, the Prime Min­is­ter was pleas­antly sur­prised to learn that I was a self-taught artist. His words at the launch still re­ver­ber­ate in my mind when he praised the col­lec­tion say­ing these paint­ings are con­flu­ence of knowl­edge, San­skar, med­i­ta­tion and art.” Years later, Modi in­au­gu­rated yet an­other solo show ‘ Mys­ti­cal Mo­ments’ in Delhi in 2016 along with the then Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee and Vice Pres­i­dent Hamid An­sari. It was his­toric oc­ca­sion when all three top lead­er­ship of the coun­try comes to­gether to in­au­gu­rate the show. Again 2016 brought yet an­other good news when Lalit Kala Akademi un­der Min­istry of Cul­ture be­stowed Pratik­sha with the cov­eted Na­tional Award. It was a huge hon­our and recog­ni­tion of med­i­ta­tive art or ob­jec­tive art in the coun­try. Since ‘Mys­ti­cal Mo­ment’ was show­cased at the gallery of Rash­tra­p­ati Bha­van, not many art lovers could make a trip. So Pratik­sha or­ga­nized an ex­hi­bi­tion that would be open for all. It took her some time but fi­nally it trav­elled to Lalit Kala Akademi gallery in March 2018 and was launched by the Lok Sabha Speaker Su­mi­tra Ma­ha­jan who paid glow­ing trib­utes to her art work say­ing, “What can you say about a per­son who be­came en­light­ened and in­spired by Osho since child­hood. Pratik­sha is not just paint­ing her feel­ings and mes­sage on the can­vas but rather be­com­ing one with the paint­ings. One has to un­der­stand and see and more im­por­tantly one has to ab­sorb mes­sage in her paint­ings in the in­ner core like a light.” Pratik­sha Apurv can be called In­dia’s pride as she presents the In­dian spir­i­tual wealth and its trea­sure trove of art at one stroke. Her art works have been a sub­ject of study for re­search stu­dents of In­dian uni­ver­si­ties. The unique and the first of its kind cof­fee ta­ble book is worth pro­cess­ing both for art lovers and spir­i­tual seek­ers.

Pratik­sha with for­mer pres­i­dent Dr Pranab Mukher­jee and Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi at her ex­hi­bi­tion in New Delhi in 2016.

With Lok Sabha speaker Su­mi­tra Ma­ha­jan at the launch of her ex­hi­bi­tion in 2016 At the cof­fee ta­ble book with Vishal and Rekha Bharad­waj

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