Art

White Lily

https://youtu.be/wf0q7q9Zu5Y

White Lily (Home of the Brave) (Live) by laurie Anderson

 

 

There is something about this clip from Home of the Brave that strikes me every time I hear/see it.  The question and answer.  The sense of days going by, pulling us into the future.  It is almost a month since we’ve been asked to shelter in place in Massachusetts.  Spring tosses its head, allowing rain, wind, gust, and sun, without pattern.  The trees are budding, first pink, then in the diustant cardinal red.  There are green leaves, and have been appearing since March began. Somehow, the garbage men still arrive to take away the bins every week, and this always reassures me, somehow.  So far, in my town, anyway, we still have recycling being picked up as well.  A headline caught my eye: it’s not all cooking and quality time.  A poem by teacher and writer Jessica Salfia composed of first lines of emails she received while in  quarantine  went viral: https://twitter.com/jessica_salfia/status/1249000027198033922

I spend more time on instagram and face book than before.  My schedule each day is wake, eat, read, eat,write, eat, television, sleep, punctuated by a conversation on the phone now and then, sprinkled with social media throughout.

There have been happy discoveries: Goldie Hawn silly-dancing on instagram. A breathtaking video of steamed bread-making:

Recipes that turn out well.

Roses that arrived in the mail, now planted, which might grow well, maybe.

Zoom meetings with friends.

The occasional egg cream.

The cats who interrupt my staring into space.

These are a few of my favorite things during this period in time, our 2020.

 

First, cake

Two months ago, I attended a Symposium on South Asian Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard.  These images are from an illustrated  manuscript from Bundi, Rajasthan, c. 1660-80.  My photography is imperfect,  not always capturing the full image, as I  wondered, too, about the rationality of capturing  an image in an image.

Radha Confiding in her Companion, c.1660-80, Bundi, India

Sound, 1660-80, Bundi, Rajastan, Arthur M Sackler Museum

 

From the Rasikapriya, 1660-80, Bundi, Rajasthan, Arthu M. Sackler Museum  

From the Rasikapriya, 1660-80, Bundi, Rajasthan, Sackler Museum

The vibrant reds, the brilliant blues. The pink, the orange, and yellow. I wandered, hungry for color, and conversation on image. It was a gorgeous, mind-blowing experience, which I can say without fear of sounding foolish because I am not part of the art world! I heard learned scholars speaking mostly in a language I understood.  I was in delight because most of these scholars were South Asian, a rare ( for me) intellectual majority here in Boston, geographically associated with my birth country.  I was the voyeur, interlocutor, taking notes, and dreaming of changing my major at fifty-seven.

A few weeks ago, I toured Agra with an old friend, and a photographer-guide, seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time. The best photos must be credited to our guide, Bobby.

I am able to do all this not only because I am not teaching this semester, but because I am realizing self-care is not just about pedicures and spas.  I find I am a  happy  student, delving into sight and sound, exhulting in art history, visual imagery, and buying books.  Years of reading fiction make me crave history books, though of course the word itself contains “story.”  Back home, the sky is winter grey.  November thankfully passes into December.  I am nearly over jet-lag.  Now a cat wants feeding, and the horses are brilliant in their still beauty through the window; a super moon on its way.  I see it at dawn, revealing its silver,  and ducking into the clouds. This too is a story.  I missed American Thanksgiving, but I know how lucky all this life is.

This post keeps appearing and disappearing.  I ought to edit, but instead, I’ll launch it again, this balloon full of hot air, and see if it will fly.

Cake?  It is what I ate before attending the first lecture at the symposium.

When I Was Seventeen, It Was A Very Good Year

Enrolled as a first year at Stella Maris College, when I was seventeen, I was a freshman abroad.  I studied in the Fine Arts department, which encompassed both art history and studio art.  We began with Mesopotamia and Assyrian, learning to diagram Buddhist stupas, and number Buddha’s attributes in sculpture ( a top-knot, elongated ears, and our favorite, loti-form lips.) I found my notebooks on this visit back, which I haven’t seen in almost forty years.

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