Years ago, I formed an artistic intention that my art must effectively integrate all four levels of experience — sensory, emotional, intellectual and spiritual, and that it should be an engagement that brings pleasure to the senses, generates positive feelings and thoughts, and deepens and uplifts the spirit. It turns out that this is very much the central purpose of classical Indian aesthetics and arts too.
I was drawn to sculpture in the 1980s when I was painting the Fallen Gods and Intimations of Transcendence series and felt that to fully express those ideas, I must go beyond two-dimensionality. With no formal training, I went to the local junkyard in New Hampshire in the US, where I lived then, and picked up odds and ends of metal – brass radiator parts, discarded electrical copper wire, and copper sheeting.
When I returned to India in 2001 after being away for twenty-two years I felt compelled to write about the situation I found in the contemporary art scene and in school art education. It seemed that contemporary art was lurching imitatively into western art constructs that had little relevance, and simultaneously the broader and integrative art traditions of India were being abandoned thoughtlessly.
I enjoy the stimulation that comes from crystallizing ideas and giving talks and the conversations they usually engender. The intersections between art and spirituality, aesthetics and Buddhism, and beauty with art and everyday living have largely been the terrain I traverse in these engagements. Over the years, I have worked to bring a greater focus to the arts in education, believing they are critical for human development.
- Book launch at JLF 2017
Namita Gokhale, Ruth Padel and Geeta Chandran to launch 'The Promise of Beauty and Why it Matters' on January 20th
- Buy ‘Towards Ananda: Rethinking Indian Arts and Aesthetics’
Now available as an ebook
Shakti Maira is a critically acclaimed artist-philosopher from India. His work as a sculptor, painter and printmaker has been widely exhibited, and is largely centered in a Buddhism-inspired spirituality. It is in the collections of the National Gallery of Modern Art in India and in private collections around the world. He has written extensively on art, design and aesthetics, and is the author of two books.
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