Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sasthamkotta with Raja Ravi Varma College of Fine Arts

Student placing paper boats in a line at Sasthamkotta Lake, photo by V.SasikumarBeauty of Water and Raja Ravi Varma College of Fine Arts have partnered in creating a unique series and workshop for senior students, focusing on artistic collaboration and nature in art, with emphasis on water. We launched on 11 July and the course continues, meeting most Fridays through the end of August, culminating in a week-long workshop at the end of September.

This week we spent a day at the internationally recognized wetlands site (via the Ramsar Convention), Sasthamkotta Lake in Kollam district of Kerala, exploring through a number of activities and discussions how to relate as artists and collaborators to this beautiful freshwater lake.

Here is a photo slideshow presenting highlights of our day. All photos are courtesy of V.Sasikumar -- thanks, Sasi!

Beauty of Water Website

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Red Stone Blessing

I wanted to bring thoughtful gifts to friends and Beauty of Water collaborators in India before returning from the USA. But there is too much consumerism in my native culture and I don't like to play the acquisition game. For weeks I put off the task of finding the right gifts, vaguely thinking I could get stuff at my last stop, Crestone, Colorado, where I would be coming for a rare family reunion.

When I arrived in Crestone, I realized the town is pretty small. There were no outlets for surgical-strike type of gift-getting... Maybe a can of beans at the local grocery/hardware store. My cell phone didn't even get reception... And even here I just couldn't bring myself to focus on getting more things.
Dad and Laura hiking in Sangre de Cristo MountainsMind you, I like the tradition of gift giving, and my friends in India had been on my mind a lot. I wished to honor them to the fullest extent. Nevertheless, when my last day in the USA came along, I opted for for a walk in the mountains over shopping. My hiking buddies, my father Dave and my uncle's wife Laura, are shown here.

On my way back down the trail, I thought about Beauty of Water a lot, and found myself internally wandering, looking at the stones in the path. Some stones seemed to call out to me, and I listened. I suddenly understood that they would make beautiful and far more meaningful gifts for cherished friends than the heavily packaged, overly marketed, absolutely unnecessary objects I was likely to find at airports in transit to Trivandrum.

As I began to pick up stones that especially caught my eye, I imagined that the remaining stones were saying bon voyage to those who would make the journey with me. In a sense they were becomming ambassadors from a wilderness on the other side of the planet, in a land once inhabited by Ute, Comanche, Navajo, and Pueblo tribes.

I came upon a bubbling stream and it also spoke. I washed the stones in that water, thanking the water and creating a ceremony of intention, joining waters from Colorado with water lovers in India. These fifteen stones are now ready to bring sacred connection to the other side of the planet. Here is the washing water on film.

Beauty of Water Website