‘Mystical Thrill’ - a stroke of genius

SHARE   |   Sunday, 02 August 2015   |   By Ontametse Sugar
Artist Jayaraman with his artwork Artist Jayaraman with his artwork

Locally based artist from India Gopal Jayaraman proved that he is a cut above the rest with his on-going exhibition at Thapong arts centre. The exhibition will run until August 8, having opened on July 27.  Themed ‘Mystical Thrill’, the exhibition is sponsored by the University of South Africa (UNISA) where Jayaraman is doing his PHD in art. He focuses on drawing, painting and sculpture. The event was officially opened by Dr Nombeko Mpako - the chairperson of Department of Art History, Visual Art and Musicology at UNISA. In his artwork Jayaraman explores issues that are quite exciting even though they might seem sensitive to other people as they focus more on the aspects of religion. He is currently a teacher at Molepolole College of Education. He has a wealth of experience in the visual art field which includes among other things conservation of historic wall paintings, video and photography, temple paintings, oil paintings and other fresco paintings. He has participated in a number of international exhibitions and has received numerous awards for his artwork with exhibitions in Holland, India, Botswana and France.

His current exhibition entitled Mystical Thrill captures Hinduism Yogic spiritual practices. In the artwork that is quite aggressive Jayaraman has presented yogis psychological and physical expressions through various medium as he compares and contrasts Hinduism belief system with other religion practices in a pursuit of a common ground in spiritual understanding. With the most dominant figure in the paintings being the symbol of the Mystic, Jayaraman said it is an attempt to understand the spiritual experience scientifically and its relation to the welfare of human society. “The artworks also seek to present and argue the theory that physical body is related to psychological variations,” he said. According to him, his work critiques the underlying factors that constitute the visual presentation of the yogis and their activities as it examines how yogis follow certain disciplines and how they perform physical and psychological fulfilment in traditional Hinduism in order to transform their human power to spiritual enlightenment.

Mirror and glass plays a very vital role in the exhibition and the artworks highlight his creativity. He considers the mirror a symbol of knowledge and wisdom while as a pure divinatory tool it also represents an instrument of enlightenment. He said this is for the viewers to introspect themselves when the mirror reflects their images. He said the reflective material denotes inner knowledge and that the first step to take the path of virtue is to look inside oneself. Jayaraman used both bold and vibrant strokes in order to show both the anxiety and freedom of divinity. Guest speaker Mphako was happy to have come to Botswana to launch one of their students’ exhibitions because his artwork was too heavy and too fragile to be transported to South Africa for exhibition. She said the aim of each and every artist is to arrest motion so that in 100 years when a stranger looks at it, it will make sense again, something that she said Jayaraman’s work proves.