Pratiksha Apurv, one of the well-known contemporary artists, is showcasing Mystical Moments, a series of artworks at Lalit Kala Akademi. The show, inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on March 15, will remain open till March 24.
The art show explores a vast range of subjects with lyrical expression. One can see a confluence of knowledge, sanskar and meditation along with art in these works.
Each of the works narrates the story of a seeker’s life on the canvas, revealing eternal truths embedded within the sutras of our spiritual and mystical tradition as also the science of meditation.
The colours are drowned in existence and appear on the canvas with subjects like “Awareness, Timelessness, Living in Moment, Devotion, Yoga, Tantra, Hypnotism, consciousness, Transcending energy, Receptivity, Liberation, Transcending Light, Witnessing, Healing through colours, Seeking, balance between inner and outer growth. Simply, these paintings are alphabet of love and I just want to share them with people and spread it all over like the fragrance of meditation in the winds.
A set of three paintings on Tantra — Eternal Orgasm, Mahamudra and Synchronicity — depict sexual energy and its inner journey that goes beyond the mind.
Beyond Senses, a work done with oil on canvas, touches the interesting aspect of our life.
“We have five senses; this we have been told about since childhood. But when we close these five senses, our sixth sense opens up — something that we call the third eye; that’s when we make an inward journey,” she says. “Through this painting I have tried to explain the inner journey we all must make; a journey that we must not ignore to explore the inner world that exists beyond senses,” she says adding, “We do not need to destroy our physical senses for that but create a balancing act by re-directing them to inner world that would take oneself beyond the senses.”
Balancing the inner and outer world is something that she has learnt from Osho Rajneesh, who incidentally is her uncle (her father’s real brother). “I am an ardent follower of Osho, and have spent a substantial part of my life at the Osho Ashram in Pune and Oregon (US),” she says.
“Each of my works is experiential. For Beyond Senses, I actually closed my five physical senses to get into the realm of inner world. It took me six long months to get connected to my agya chakra, also called as the third-eye chakra or the six primary chakra of the body ,” she says.
Splendour of Compassion describes compassion through Avlokiteshwara who with his several heads, eyes and hands watches over suffering people in need of immediate help. In Buddhism, compassion (karuna) is described as a seed that is born out of deep meditation and its flourishing is important to attain “Bodhisatva”. Mahayana, a school of Buddhism, which emphasises Buddha’s life, focuses on feeling and compassion. Mahayana Sutra says a seeker — Bhikshus and Bhikshuni’s — must recite the mantra and bring forth a heart of kindness and compassion for all living beings,” says Pratiksha.
“I believe everything comes from that meditative energy. When I hold the brush (the zero number brush to render fine detailing to her creation) and begin work on the canvas, I get totally drawn into it. The outer world doesn’t matter to me at all. I don’t need to see the greenery, hills or sea to paint. I do not find the process as technical but liberating, a process of decoding the hidden treasure. Painting is a form of meditation for me,” she say.
The Mystical Moments has much more to offer, including paintings on seven energy centres, the devotion and love of Meera, wisdom and compassion of Buddha, truthfulness of Nanak and divinity of Kabir and Krishna.
Through these works, Pratiksha has tried to share the vision and message of Sufi mystics, yoga guru Patanjali and the concept of shunya (void) which in general terms is described as something that cannot be conceived — an emptiness, which has no shape.
Interestingly, the Mystical Moments also has a message from women mystics, who are often ignored. “Women sages have not got their rightful place in our society, and this is the reason I decided to paint the blissful being and vision of mystics like Rabia, Mallibai, Dayabai and Sahjo among others — these mystics are just like deep reservoirs of rich love and pure divinity,” she says.
Born in Gadarwara, Madhya Pradesh, Pratiksha took sanyas at the age of 11 after she visited OSHO’s commune in Pune, Maharashtra. For the first thirteen years (1987-2005) of her life after completing studies, Pratiksha worked as a fashion designer and “experienced the outer world”. In 2004, she turned towards fine art — paintings. “This is my world now. I paint what I want to, this is unlike fashion designing wherein I had to tamper my creativity depending upon the likes and dislikes of clients,” she says.
Pratiksha paints for eight hours every day, with weekly offs, for, her work is her passion. “I enjoy my work so much that I don’t feel like going away from it,” she says.
Realising that not everyone can attend her shows, Pratiksha began writing a column newspapers, explaining one painting each time. “But I really feel sad of this generation. Neither parents nor teachers are making any effort to connect these kids with their immense inner potential. Everyone is interested in turning out professionally successful adults as a result of which the uniqueness has become a casualty,” she says.
So far Pratiksha has done 11 solo shows across the country, in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Baroda and Chandigarh. Interestingly, 10 of her paintings titled Divine Art were exhibited under “Soul of Asia” of 44th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in 2013 in Goa. Then in 2016, her works were selected for an exhibition at the Rashtrapati Bhawan Museum by the then President Dr Pranab Mukherjee for the “true Indianness they depicted”.