I have always had mixed feelings about the art and trade fairs that pop up like mushrooms in Chicago and its suburbs, in fact all over the country, every summer. On one side, I am proud of the tradition and the cultural heritage they offer to their audience,but on the other hand I am frustrated by the overwhelming corporate presence in them.
What world we are leaving for the next generation? We have often heard this question in connection with the deteriorating environment. My question is: Are we leaving a planet where the next generation can thrive?
In Arundhati Roy’s novel, The God of Small Things, the happenings in the lives of the main characters make it possible for us to visualize a southern Indian small town, and the way life takes its course through all its attractions and disappointments.
The Indian sub-continent had a very rich tradition of miniature painting that was not only tied to kings, queens and lords of different kingdoms of the Indian sub-continent, but also had a strong connection with the architectural forms of the temples, mosques, palaces, and courtyards of the region.
Since the dawn of the industrial era and particularly after the Second World War, education became more career oriented. Its value as a job grabber and a mode for competition for industrial and corporate positions has increased tremendously. Gradually the process of providing values and morals, both worldly and religious, moved to the end of the list of objectives of education.
Among these three representations of Shiva in The Art Institute of Chicago, Natraja is the most significant. One’s attention is drawn not only to its form but also to the symbolism it contains. This piece of sculpture is from the Chola Dynasty that ruled southern India from 800 to 1279 C.E. It is a brilliant icon and probably one of the best representations of Hindu art.
In Buddhism, Nature is not merely a supply source for our material needs. The Earth is seen as a living entity, and therefore Nature has a dynamic role in our lives. This respect for nature is inherent in Buddhism not only because it is the basis for much of its teachings, but because Buddhism itself is a product of Nature.
Art Education? Why? This question is an important one for a society in which there is much to be done toward the appreciation and teaching of art. Is it really a waste of time for our students? Is it a subject that just tears them away for forty-five to fifty minutes from their core subjects? Or is it a subject that provides our students with some specific skills?