Artist and the muse
The debate in my mind has been going on for a longtime. A lot of my friends always ask me why don’t you shoot other models for your project ? Why are you shooting only your wife ? She is nowhere closer to the rules laid down by the western standard of fashion( industry ) model. Then why shoot her ? How can I tell them that I have shot hundreds of models but most of the work is commercial. Commercial work and art projects are different. It’s not that I don’t get a model but I feature only work that I love and passionately doing.
What is fashion or what is a model ? Do we ever ponder ? If you look carefully at any temples in Bharat you will find not a single lady sculpture will pass the modern standards of beauty ? Then why do we appreciate the artist’s work ? I am trying to discover that through my work of art. And this is my exploration through one who is very close to me. One who is a collaborator. One who can dare to take that extra step. Our work is beyond husband and wife. It’s two artists joining hands together. One is the canvas and the other one is the brush.
It’s a personal passion project where two artists are collaborating. Both of us know each other completely. It’s a need of our project to work together . A husband can see his wife in hundreds of ways and still does not get bored. Is it always about physical beauty ? Yes, physical beauty is very important. It is the canvas. But then comes energy and understanding of each other. For any long term project that is superior. Physical aspects are present in everybody and there are so many beautiful bodies. For me personally I can see her beauty in every attire and every location and every form. Hence I am happy with one model. For me she is my Parvati and Rati. She excites me and also calms me at the same time. What you see in my interpretations of the subject and your own added thoughts. Some people find it interesting, exciting or repetitive. That is your projection.
Our work of art is not only for today but for the tomorrow and until human forms will be there and until digital files exist. Our inspiration comes from the eternal and bold work done by our ancestors on our caves and temples, painters who painted historical characters. Whenever we are in doubt we see other people creating images or paintings inspired from us. Lot of painters copy our images. And this is where we know that it inspires artists to paint. What more an artist can ask for ! Of course prior permission is required to use any of our images. And for commercial purposes it has to be dealt with commercially.
Traveling across the nation over the years exposed us to diversity in art and cultural heritage. Temples of Ellora, Ajantha, Belur and Khajuraho showed me more than physicality. Paintings of Raja Ravi Verma, the lines from Meghdoot taught me that romance is literally in the air. Malvika Agnimitram is romantic just like any contemporary love story. It’s just hidden in plain sight.
We are shaped by our past to create the present. Someone will create the future from what we are creating today. We are merely a bead woven by the thread in a rosary ( mala). Shapes, colors, geography, attire will be different but the expression of the energy will spring forth every time in full force. We have been gifted with imagination, inspiration, interpretation and adaption of the spirit of this universe through human forms.
Our nation is gifted with beautiful models but those models are not only in the cities. That girl is beautiful in her own way. She can be a shepherdess, housewife, laborer, or tribal lady. The authenticity in their dressing, the way they speak and walk is so attractive. Unfortunately it is very difficult to make them models, maybe due to the cultural norms or family restrictions. We want to represent those women through one and that is Raginee.
This project is seeing beyond the physical beauty while celebrating physicality. Here you can see the environment, ethnic attire and the mood. Raginee is a medium that represent many rural women who are like her. Everyone cannot speak for herself but someone can represent them for sure. The physical form is required to attract us but later on the grace and inner beauty matters in any relations. Similarly beyond the world of advertising and media lot of beautiful souls are still there in our country unspoilt and far from the limelight.
Do today's fashion represent the vast population of the citizens of Bharat ? It creates a fake pride and fake narrative about certain body type, color, accent and the list goes on. In the name of being liberal only the privileged take the benefit of the position. Fortunately due to the internet I am able to present our work and so do other artists from the heartland and the remote corners of the nation. In our temples you can see women of all body types, class and doing all sorts of action, celebration or even war. And that must be represented through the media. So there will not be unnecessary guilt or share of not being part of a particular group.
As a human the feeling of belongingness is very important but the advertising thrives on our guilt and aspirations. It feeds us that something is always lacking and we need to buy that new product to complete us or move up in the social hierarchy. But artists have no business with that. And art always strives to use the body as a canvas to explore universal value. An artist needs no validation nor a lobby to create a piece of art. We are on our way and lighting it with our torch. Learning, exploring and creating something that gives us pleasure. Hope others will also be inspired and create something unique. That way we all can create something beautiful in our own unique ways. And still be happy about each other.
Every artist is very passionate about the result but at the same time every artist is not complete and that’s why he always strives for that completion and when that Artist gets a companion who understands his light and darkness,strength and weakness then the work happens in a tandem. The stalwarts like Raja Ravi Verma , Herb Ritts, Prabhudda Dasgupta inspire me. Incidentally all of them had a muse who was with them for long term collaboration.
People see the bodily portrayal of the model and they think that’s it. But the artist combines his sensory experiences and also beyond that by combining all his faculties. A beautiful model attracts everyone. But a beautiful soul does not always shine amidst everyone. Only the personal interaction reveals that to an artistic soul. We are always attracted to beauty, this is what we think. But basically we are drawn towards design. A design that is almost perfect. It can be sound, space, shapes etc… and for our five senses nature offers the best opportunity to indulge into that. With respect to any artist or a soul with imagination he tries to materialize that fantasy through his tools.
When it comes to humans, the female form is the most complete form and very close to nature. It is close to the moon’s cycle. It is like earth that gives birth to new life. And that’s why there’s more stability , beauty in that feminine nature. This has always attracted the male form. Which always strives to connect with the feminine energy. It can be with the physical union for normal humans but for artists it’s sublimation through their work of art. That’s why here I work with my muse on multiple levels and what you see is through images and words.
For saints they have a union of male and female energies within themselves. They are complete and nothing is left to achieve. Their words flow like eternal poetry and their actions are beneficial to the whole world. But the Artist is still trapped in self and the other. Which is strength and weakness. The eternity manifests through him in a form. And in our mortal form we chose to glorify the female form more than anyone else . Labels of relationships are changing as per the culture, time and civilisation. But she is the ultimate manifestation of beauty and Shakti. Indeed she is Prakriti (the creator).
For all couples :
I just wonder if each lover, husband should start to see his muse in multiple ways how wonderful it will be ! Because beneath the skin and bones we are the universe itself. Then why not discover that within ourselves and complete each other. This is the purpose of our project. It started with Muse and Mirror now evolved in Sindhu Sagar. Our culture always encouraged physical as well as metaphysical aspects of nature.And we are here to celebrate that through film, photography and words.
Writeup & photography : Yogesh Kardile
Model : Raginee Kardile
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