Where shall we go this summer? Well the choices are innumerable. But if for some reason one cannot get away to feel the cool mountain air and feast one’s eyes on clouds drifting above the cedars and pines, there can always be a retreat into the world of cool art. This is what one finds oneself doing as the mercury rises and dusty hot winds blow.
The first urge is to lose oneself in the snow sculptures as clicked by the camera of city photographer Surinder Dhami of the coolest possible forms. Put together in an enchanting show recently, Dhami, of course, took the tough route in gathering them.
“For the past decade and a half I regularly visit the snow fields beyond Shimla at Kufri and Narkanda. Most people play with the snowballs and return, but I tread along the slow looking for the forms it may take as the path is shoveled,” says Dhami.
The result is indeed fascinating as the photographer has an eye for textures and forms. His snow studies form a world in which the eye travels from the sensuous to the spiritual in ecstasy.
Another city painter with a knack for bringing picture perfect paintings from the hills is Bheem Malhotra. Essentially a landscape painter, Bheem says: “Travelling with the students of architecture whom I teach painting gave me opportunities to paint diverse places. I enjoy painting monuments and old cities, but the greatest joy is to capture the beauty of the mountains. I love painting rain and pouring down to veil the landscape.” Such were the vignettes that went into making his summer show held recently at Delhi. The paintings have rain, rivers, play of colours and a sense of being one with the bounties of nature.
For writer-painter Manju Kak, who has documented the art and life of Nicholas Roerich, the painter of the Himalayas, it is the Kumaon landscape that beckons her most passionately.
Interestingly, all her paintings inspired by hills here and there were put together recently in a show at Delhi called ‘The Ranikhet State of Mind’. Now what on earth is this Ranikhet State of Mind?
Kak says: “The pristine mountain air, the abundant snow views, pink September clouds, crocii bursting out of rain drenched hillsides are just some of the memories I have carried with me in my peripatetic life, my senses drawing from these sights as a thirsty person would from a well of water”. So well said and it brings to my mind a yesteryear Hindi song: ‘Sawan aaye ya na aaye jiya jab jhoome sawan hai’ (Monsoon may come or not, when the heart sways it is monsoon). So also the mountain state of mind!