US-based Shanthi Chandrasekar explores concepts of physics and philosophy at DakshinaChitra
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in physics and an interest in Vedic philosophy, for US-based artist Shanthi Chandrasekar, the point of convergence for both her pursuits was art. “For example, the cosmology concept of a multi-verse, the idea of existence of multiple universes is present in Indian philosophy too and is called ananta koti brahmanda,” she says. This concept has translated into one of the installations for her collection Sanathana, on display from tomorrow at DakshinaChitra. The installation has hand made paper shaped into eggshells, about five inches in height, and each made with different drawings depicting ananta koti brahmanda or different universes.
About Yatra, the name given to a few paintings from the collection, she says, “I imagined myself as a light particle, going through a black hole.” The second installation of about 80-90 hand-made circular sheets with cosmic designs building blocks, black holes, voids and celestial clusters will hang from the ceiling, explains the 48-year-old artist.
This exhibition has been funded in part by Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County’s Individual Artist Grant. “After two years, this collection comprising two installations, 30 paintings — 12 new and 18 from the previous collections — was completed,” says the artist whose work was last displayed in India over four years ago.
While researching for Indian philosophy, she attended classes to understand the Bhagavad Gita and Atma Bodha, and to understand emerging concepts of physics she simply went online. “If one day I felt like understanding the concept of entanglement I just listened to the online lectures by professors at Yale or MIT,” she states. “I may not understand everything but the talks and discussions create pictures in my head which I proceed to translate on canvas,” shares Chandrasekar who believes all her pieces personify her take on concepts of physics and Indian philosophy. “Lots of physicists have actually had a background in Bhagavad Gita,” she says, citing the example of US-based physicist J Robert Oppenheimer who used to quote from the spiritual text. “This is the connection I wished to explore through my work,” concludes the artist.
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— Seema Rajpal