Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 520 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
Founded by Krish Datta and Avik Bandyopadhyay, Singapore-based MayinArt is a platform to showcase Indian and Southeast Asian art. The artworks are priced from a few hundred dollars up to around $3,000.
Images of some artworks are reprinted in this article with permission from MayinArt. See Part I and Part II of our photo-essay, along with images from their recent exhibition in Singapore, Discover the Undiscovered.
“I have always been attracted towards the word ‘Mayin’. Being a Bengali and having a bit of a Sanskrit background, I found it to be apt for what we were trying to create,” Avik explains, in a chat with YourStory.
‘Mayin’ means one who has the art and skill of enchantment. “It represents the Hindu Gods Brahma and Shiva. Mayin thus means The Creator of the Universe,” Avin says.
Another name that they fancied was Lyk2Buy. “We fixed on this one to be the company name, which is registered in Singapore, and MayinArt is the brand name,” Avin adds.
“I interpret art as part of life. The two of them complement each other. Where there is life, that is where art appears,” explains Indonesian natural-realism painter M Ihsan.
A firm supporter of forest preservation, wood is one of the themes of his artworks. “Art appreciates life. All beings reflect their life in the form of work,” he adds.
“Art is way of visualisation that transcends boundaries of language as well as structures in society. With art, I can express complex feelings,” Ihsan says. This is beyond what his earlier work as a construction architect allowed him to express.
He sees art as mathematical as well as psychological. Art can help solve some of the problems of society, which is suffering from one-dimensional ideas of development.
Success as an artist for Ihsan is beyond material or even social gains. “Success is actually a gift from the Almighty. It must be addressed properly and wisely,” he explains.
“Achievement through material, position, or social status can actually turn back to imprison oneself, and dwarfs the order of life,” Ihsan cautions. Many so-called successful people end up suffering from health problems.
“This is because people live their lives only to fulfill the rituals of life. Meanwhile, the essence of life itself is never explored or realised at all,” he laments.
Though the pandemic poses health hazards, he feels it can be tackled with adequate medical and economic safety measures. “Conditions like this should be a trigger to keep working, not a barrier to work. Work must carry on responsibly,” Ihsan suggests.
He also offers tips for aspiring artists. “Always learn to expand knowledge. Make the most of whatever opportunity you get. Do everything to the maximum, do your best above average standards,” Ihsan suggests.
“After that, be patient. God does not sleep, the important thing is we try as hard as we can. Above all that, we must also be able to make peace with ourselves, because our scenario is already determined by the Almighty,” he observes.
“Art is a language by which I can narrate the experience and interaction with my immediate social surroundings,” explains Abhijit Paul, a pop art artist from Kolkata.
“I have developed my style from Indian traditional masters of Pahari, Rajput, Mughal and Persian miniatures,” he explains. Other influences are the ahsta nayika of Natya Shastra by Bharata Muni, as well as Tibetan and Western art.
Though the pandemic was a tough time for all of society, Abhijit kept himself engaged by painting in his studio and staying away from the psychological state reflected in the media. “I am sure that after a certain time period, we will come out with different experiences and conceptions,” he adds.
“If you want to be an artist, you have to think of art as your first and last love. You have to live a conjugal life with art, with no other options or choices,” Abhijit advises aspiring artists.
“Through art, I can think and interpret something in a way that is different from general thought,” explains AT Sitompul, an Indonesian abstract artist popular for creating geometric abstractions.
His artworks are intended to convey themes of simplicity and purity through optical illusions and vibrations. He is also a three-time finalist of the UOB Painting of the Year competition.
“Success for me is when someone appreciates my art and understands what I mean. If it sells, it’s like getting a bonus or lottery,” Sitompul describes.
“I like abstract art, as abstract is universal and flexible. I prefer an elementary style, as the basis of art is very flexible and familiar. I like the freedom to work and think, creating works that transcend space and time,” he adds.
“This pandemic has actually encouraged me to create brighter works with positive content. I want to share positive vibes with anyone who enjoys my works,” Sitompul enthuses.
He also offers tips for aspiring artists. “I’ve always advised young artists to be honest in their works. There is no need to exaggerate something beyond reason and life itself,” he says.
“In effect, the work feels more alive and relatable, because what we create is a reflection of real personal experience and knowledge,” Sitompul signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to explore your creative core?