- Manju Sadarangani
Updated: Mar 12, 2021
Aashray I & II
आश्रय I & II
Diptych, 12" x 12" (each)
Acrylic & Gold Leaf on Canvas
Ashray is shelter, refuge, asylum, recourse. These pieces were an attempt to seek refuge in simplicity after a few months of falling into a furtive search for meaning, for representation. To give myself permission to shelter in the fundamentals of this practice. Ashray I & II come together in a diptych. They are an attempt to capture the ultramarine jewel tone I see while meditating on the Ajna chakra. Ashray was an opportunity to truly sit with Wabi Sabi. This diptych is suffused with gratitude for people and experiences gently pulling us towards insight.
One of the things I enjoy about many of my pieces is their versatility. These two pieces connect as a diptych. They can go together. Or stand alone. I endeavor to paint pieces that can be seen differently as the light changes, they can be displayed as you wish, they can evolve with you. There is no up or down, no right or wrong way. I find myself pulling away from a very rigid patriarchal perspective, very dictatorial - ‘here is my work and this is how I want you to perceive it.’
What I want is for us to journey together, as artist and audience. I am starting to go back to my original desire to forgo signing the front of my pieces. It feels like an act of foregoing my own ego to immerse myself in the joy of someone else’s experience.
The blues evoke the Ajna (आज्ञा) chakra, our metaphorical third eye. While a person's two eyes see the physical world, the third eye is our gateway into our inner realms, our higher consciousness. In Hindu spirituality, the third eye is a symbol of enlightenment and evokes psychological, emotional, and spiritual significance. Meditating on the third eye chakra is said to connect us to our intuition, which is a path to enlightenment. Hindus mark the Ajna chakra, the space in between the brows, with a bindi, expressing a desire for insight, for enlightenment.
Ashray was an opportunity to sit with imperfection. While working on this piece, I found myself obsessing on a little speck of gold-leaf. The perfectionist in me wanted to FIX IT. Immediately. I reached out to my bestie to articulate my desire to fix. The very act of articulating this ‘big issue’ put it in perspective. Expressing the discomfort to someone I trust made me shelter in Wabi Sabi of Kintsugi. And made me grateful that I was blessed with besties who gently pull me towards insight.