Oh Letters! You pose straight and stern,
Gracefully twist and turn,
You seem to sing and dance …
Be contemplative and in trance
Amazing is your persona that charms me
And make me think of you at every blink…
Above lines summarize the art of artist SUGO (Subhash Gondhale), as he is commonly known in art circle. For him Calligraphy is a captivating Art for several reasons, the common factor of calligraphy all over the world is that, of giving meaning, feeling and expression to letters. Letters are wonder invention…they form words, sentences and we think in words, we contemplate in silence…but again silence have thoughts and thoughts are in letters (words and sentences). SUGO’s latest exhibition named Knyatavya (easy to understand), portraying Devanagri script and Hindu motifs or mantras. These eye catching series’ clearly presents his inclination towards spirituality and deliberation on munificence of Hinduism.
Most calligraphers spread message of the particular culture, love and peace through their calligraphy. Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, East Asia, Asia et al. has a common thread of message of humanity and moving away from destruction and violence. SUGO has signified this by having a dialogue through Indian Devanagri language and motifs, thus trying to make Indian (Hindu) Calligraphy a global phenomenon. He makes the world aware of profound impact of motifs like ‘Aum’, ‘Swastik’ and ‘Rhim- rham on body and soul. He not only deliberates on sound but visually creates a meditative aura by using colors proposing mysticism and feeling of self awakening.
Along with the spiritual communion in ‘Mantra’ series, in the series named ‘Akshara’ SUGO reveals the beauty of Devanagri script. The letters seem personified, have body language and have momentum and they twist and turn gracefully. If they are contemplated with closed eyes it seems to have rhythm; music, poetic appeal. Some letters seem to swiftly float, feel light as feathers. This might be the reflection of SUGO’s mind, of breaking away from practical existence and moving away from stress and burden into tranquility. He has symbolically linked letters with every minute element that creator Lord Brahma (In Hinduism Lord Brahma is said to be the creator of this universe) amalgamated together to create this universe. Nature or universe is made of animate and inanimate objects; varying from micro to macro sizes and shapes and united they create a beautiful universe. Likewise, the letters in his paintings are the part of larger forms like, words and sentences. When letters are united in smaller groups they make a word; and word gives meaning to thoughts and so in the process language is born. is like presenting the theory of evolution through letters.
I was convinced about SUGO’s dedication to his art by his response to the question of ‘readymade calligraphy’ being made easily available on computer. When questioned about easy access to calligraphic fonts and saving time and efforts of creating it manually for various occasions, he confidently replied that it is a fact that technology has advanced and computer has made things easy and enables access to most difficult art, like Calligraphy; but for him calligraphy is not just writing artistically, but it is a matter of profound dedication and purity of thoughts that go into creation of each and every letter. He opines that Calligraphy will always have secured place in Art, despite of technological progress.
I think his subject is unique because ‘Hinduism’ is confined to India; it can be called Indian religion. SUGO tries to introduce it to the world. It is not only about spirituality but has the power to balance and compose our mind and body. It reveals the mysteries of this Universe of how, why and who created it. It is a great pleasure to watch these paintings live and get enlightened.
As reviewed by Pankaja JK. Art writer.