February 14, 2013

Bonsai moments: life in miniature

Many years ago, I had had the opportunity to see the works of several prominent Pakistani artists during an exhibition at the Omani Society of Fine Arts in Muscat; one of them (whose name I have regretfully forgotten) was working with the miniature art form and I remember spending much of the exhibition in front of this particular painting, completely transfixed. I recall the painting being that of an apartment block in an urban landscape; the artist had depicted and evoked the myriad worlds found in each of the rooms constituting the building with exacting, loving attention to detail. 

Up till then, I had been familiar with traditional forms of miniature art, most specifically, the examples found in markets of Jodhpur and Jaipur and of which several hung in our home; I was delighted to encounter this modern and whimsical interpretation of miniature art though. It was probably around that time that I started to think more seriously about what appreciation of art meant to me - and what kind of art I would like to collect and surround myself with. I would never have gotten tired of looking at such a painting: there would be new surprises to encounter every day, unmasking themselves as the time went by...

I have subsequently discovered several artists interpreting this art form in their respective styles; however, my favorites have been the British-Asian artists, The Singh Twins, whose work elegantly pays homage to the miniature art technique while flamboyantly infusing them with their personal vision and identities. For example, this painting below, Les Girls celebrates the joy of feminine bonding or the sisterhood: 

Les Girls

I blogged about them at Her Blueprint, where I will be regularly blogging about women artists once again:)

Meanwhile, keeping up with the miniature theme, I was enchanted to discover a collection of miniature rooms at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh; as in the miniature paintings, where details reign supreme, these rooms were exquisitely appointed and decorated, whether it was the grand dining room, which was immaculately laid out for supper with silverware, candle-stands, and the imposing chandelier suspended above or the bedroom with its dressing rooms and accoutrements. It was only a matter of time, it seemed, before the guests would convene to consume dinner or the lights would be switched off in the bedroom and the sleeper migrating into dreamland. 

Here are pictures I took of the miniatures at the museum:

Dining room

Have you ever seen anything in miniature art form that particularly caught your fancy?

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