Auroville, then and now

Auroville, then and now
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Hang on Studio Wall
13/04/2015
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We went to Auroville and Pondicherry in South India with great expectations of seeing the ashram and the studios where various international and local artists work in pottery, painting, textiles etc. We came back utterly disappointed. This work reflects that feeling. There is a huge, really huge, banyan tree there which has been growing for over one hundred years in the wilderness. It has its own multiple roots which keep developing into trees in their own right but under the link of the mother tree. It’s an awesome sight to see as total width wise it must be easily the width of a building. Hence the top half of the painting represents the greenery which used to be there in that area before Man came and spoilt it. The tree is the essence of that greenery. The tree is printed in colour on a film and is on purpose only a part of the green imagery. Different techniques have been used to highlight the greenery. The bottom half represents Today. Many areas have lost their green cover; the human populace has spread all over. Unlimited, unchecked construction. Dust and dirt all over. The Mother conceived the idea of the Dome or Mantri Mandir nearby the Banyan Tree. This golden orb, which looks totally out of place (as if it’s some spaceship in a rural Indian environment), where only those who are ‘devotees’ can enter and get spiritual guidance gazing at a large crystal, sits in regal splendour by itself miles from anywhere. One walks a kilometre under a relatively shaded path to reach it, and then only to see it from a considerable distance. There are 12 gardens being constructed around it, each named after different flowers. It appears from our varied experiences that Auroville and Pondicherry favours the foreigners in many respects. Hence this part of the work reflects the multitude of foreigners who come for spiritual enlightenment, peace, happiness and other desires, all going towards Auroville. There is no rigid route, it’s ethereal.

About the Artist
Sunil Mehta

I paint landscapes and abstracts in acrylics, oils and water colours. My favourite style is impasto as it creates beautiful imagery and depth exploiting the richness of the paints thereby producing a pleasing tactile surface. Landscapes convey peace, tranquility and considerable warmth. I often use…

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