The Night Life Of Trees

Night Life of Trees
The Night Life of Trees (Tara Publishing)

Traditionally forest dwellers, the indigenous Gond people of central India believe that the lives of humans and trees are closely entwined. Trees contain the cosmos; when night falls, the spirits they nurture glimmer into life. It’s not hard to imagine glimmering spirits being nurtured inside the beautifully intricate and luminous trees depicted by award-winning artists Bhajju Shyam, Durga Bai and Ram Singh Urveti in The Night Life of Trees book and exhibition, currently showing at the University of Hawaii. Each painting is accompanied by narratives from the artists describing a legend, myth or folktale associated with each individual tree.

Durga Bai is the illustrator of counting book One, Two, Tree! and her work also combines traditional symbols and stories with a contemporary focus on women’s issues and experiences. The work of Bhopal-based Bhajju Shyam includes The London Jungle Book, a striking visual travelogue of his first visit to a western city, a visit undertaken along with internationally-shown artist Ram Singh Urveti to paint the interiors of an Indian restaurant called Masala Zone in London. Elaborate textures filling the figures in the paintings are characteristic of Gond art, which is mostly painted on the walls of homes, and Urveti’s work is said to be identifiable by the motif he uses to fill figures, an arrowhead.

The Night Life of Trees; Night Life book review

April 13, 2007
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