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Lord Shiva's cosmic dance on canvas

PTI 14 Nov 2014, 13:34:14 PM IST

Kolkata: In a new series of paintings, veteran artist Uma Bardhan has captured the different motions of creation, destruction and salvation as reflected in the ‘Tandav' dance of Lord Shiva.

The 24 artworks, mostly in water mixable oil on canvas and titled ‘Cosmic Dance of Shiva' is being exhibited at the Chemould Gallery here.

Bardhan says she took a cue from the statue of Nataraja, which symbolises Shiv's the cosmic dance of creation and destruction, given to CERN in 2004 by the Indian government to celebrate the research centre's long association with India.  A plaque next to the statue explains famous American physicist, Fritjof Capra's theory that Lord Shiva's dance is similar to the dance of sub-atomic particles.

“Nothing represents the daily rhythm of death and birth, destruction and creation more than the ‘tandava' by Lord Shiva. This cosmic dance unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics,” says the artist who specialises in figurative paintings.

“God is the supreme creator of the universe and I as an artist take extreme pleasure in reflecting his creation in their actual form,” says Bardhan adding that her interest in the subject took her to countless Shiva temples across India.  One of the most striking paintings in this show is titled, ‘Nataraj2', depicting Shiva, the God of creation and destruction, dancing.

“The red backdrop and his turbulent hair means anger and at the same time, his smiling face and conch symbolises bliss and peace. The trident represents shakti or energy. The snake on his body suggests wisdom or the rise of Kulakundalini which is the core theme of our life,” he says.  Another striking work in blue is the one wherein the Lord is depicted as Neelkanth, the one drinking poison to save the universe.

Another painting, done in oil on canvas board, dwells on Shiva as Kalbhairav,  where the deity looks a little menacing but protects his disciples from the evils of the world, including death. The show is set to end here tomorrow.