“At times I sit with my paper drawing a flower, a leaf or a delicate thorn for hours on end, lovingly, tenderly holding them close to myself, building upon them by using layers and layers of colour. As I enter into their subtlest zones I fall upon memories and imaginative reverie, experiencing my environs, times I never revisited, people and their surroundings, and dreams buried beneath layers of wild overgrowth. These could be things that once seemed true but later turned out untrue, and their reasons for that. There is a sense of ‘me’ beyond the superficial title, with no past nor future only now or the present. The recognition that of ‘I’ in myself is that trembling entity which wavers between what is the past and what is to be. It is this engagement that keeps me linked with the process of life.
Art enables to take into account the ebbs and swells of the animal nature within me, as it becomes part of my surroundings through its processes and practise. It opens the alleys into paths that turn outward, yet staying within me, quivering like a resonance,” read the young profound Hima Hariharan’s introductory note.
Had noticed her work on Gallery OED Kochi, Kerela facebook page. In hindsight, I think, this was probably the best time to talk to her, as she is pregnant with her first child at the age of 27 – living each action in daily life to experience the process of ‘Art’ as a gift of well-being. Forgoing the traditional romanticism, her life’s journey contemporizes the mundane quite like these rainy months of inception or conception when the male frog’s deep purring croaks attracts his mate.
Birth from wood
MD: What is your family background?
HH: My father E.S.Hariharan runs a small textile shop at Rajakad, a rural hillside area in Idukki District, Kerala. My mother Leelamani, runs the house. And I got married to an artist Usman Pakkath, just a year ago.
MD: Where do you stay?
HH: My husband and I have shifted to another hillside area Thamarassery in Calicut or Kozhikode District, Kerala where he works as an Assistant Professor in a design school called ‘Avani Institute of Design’.
MD: Where or who taught you painting?
HH: I started to view art as my profession after my bachelor’s degree from Government College of Fine Arts Thrissur, Kerala, wherein I specialized in painting. Even before that, since childhood I had been playfully practicing on my own.
Close to earthWinged fantasy
MD: Tell us a bit more about your work.
HH: After completing my graduation in 2014 I became a full time practitioner of art. Having dealt with so many art practices I decided on working with a certain methodology that bends towards mother nature, ensuring that life can exist and coexist.
MD: What and how is that translated?
HH: I stand looking at whatever offers itself up to my gaze. Some I lay my hands on. That becomes a topic of my visual experiments for instance a flower, a smooth shiny little rounded pebble, an abandoned bird’s nest, a dried leaf, a dead and dried up crab, fallen feathers etc. Basically, anything that does not lend itself to an easy consumption, is not worthy of being assigned a monetary value, finds me as its appreciator.
All my artworks are done on 300 GSM Canson paper and then manually stained and textured by rubbing flowers, leaves, fruit juices sometimes tempera in search of natural pigments. The images are then painted with water colours.
MD: Which artists do you admire?
HH: I am more interested in oriental water colours, of history. Especially the flora fauna paintings of Chinese, Japanese and Mughal art – Indian miniatures and some company paintings depicting nature as a core element of their expression. Its hard to remember at the drop of a hat, but the seventeenth century Mughal painter and court artist – Ustad Mansur comes to my mind. He became known during the reign of fourth Mughal ruler – Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim alias Jahangir, for delicately rendering plants and animals.
Yellow mermaidA sudden shift