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Six Seasons Musical Motifs Write Up

Musical Motifs- book Launch cum Exhibition

The event ‘Musical Motifs’ was held from 30 April 2021 till 3 May 2021, at The Arts House, Singapore to mark the Book Launch and an Exhibition of paintings on the theme of a genre of classical Indian art by author-artist Kumuda Krovvidi.

Kumuda Krovvidi is  a Singaporean artist who likes to explore artistic processes in the field of visual arts (painting). To discover an artistic process and apply it in a creative creation is her mantra for purposeful living. Sharing the discovery with others through workshops, talks, classes and exhibitions gives her immense satisfaction.

One such area of artistic process that she was fascinated with  is the visualisation of sound in a painting. Resonance art explores this idea of imagining and representing an abstract idea such as sound or music in terms of colour or image. Resonance is the ability of something to evoke or suggest images, memories and emotions and Resonance art refers to visualising these images as a response to music.

 This concept of visualising music was popular in Indian art in the form of Ragamala Paintings. The Ragamala paintings of India have intrigued artists and art connoisseurs for centuries. Created largely in the period from the early 16th Century to the 19th Century CE, the simple yet expressive miniatures are appreciated not just for their historical value but also for their linear compositions and vibrant colours. The feature that makes the Ragamala paintings distinct from other historical miniatures, however, is their musical symbolism.  The composition of Ragamala paintings also extended to include another art form – poetry. Descriptions were inscribed above the paintings, often as a literary poem, describing the painting or the ideas the painting was meant to convey. The study of Ragamala miniatures, therefore, is an interdisciplinary one. A full appreciation beyond the visual painting requires an understanding of the cross-references to the music and the poetry that were used by the artist to convey emotions, moods and abstract ideas. Each of these disciplines had their own evolution and influences and the Ragamala artists worked at the intersection of them all. 

            ‘Musical Motifs’ presents a framework for the understanding of Ragamala paintings through a book and through paintings created by the author-artist. Intended to provide the viewers with tools that will help them make the connections across art, music and literature, this book launch cum exhibition event can help artists and audiences appreciate Ragamala paintings and value them for their artistic as well as their historical value.  Emotions and sentiments are influenced by seasonal moods and play an important part in the composition of the paintings. There are six seasons experienced in a year, Spring, Summer, Monsoon, Autumn, Pre-Winter and Winter. This event was arranged in to include sections corresponding to the Six Seasons with a brief description of the events that occur in each of them. Each section corresponding to a season included paintings of a family of one raga and five raginis that were created to show the associations between the composition and theme.