Family art: Nirulas capture light, soul in stained glass

New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) ‘Captured Glass’ – a body of 50-odd art works in stained glass on display in the capital – is about light and darkness which represent the two sides of life, symbolising the ying and the yang in eastern philosophies and the good (light) and evil (dark) in western philosophies.

It is a family art project involving father, mother, daughter and son.

The Nirula Family Company – a high end commercial art promotion platform – and Starlight, a glass art boutique owned by the Nirulas, have captured the spiritual symbolism of light and darkness according to Vedic concepts.

The project is on display at the Arpana Caur Gallery of Fine Arts in Hauz Khas and has been conceived and executed by Nalin Nirula, wife Renoo, son Arjun Raj and daughter Divyya.

‘The concept emerged out of discussions we had at home about the Vedic concept of the descent of the human soul and the essence of light and darkness. We decided that our work had to chronicle the journey of the soul through light and darkness in four sections.

‘Once we had the trajectory, we set about to identify the medium. Stained glass and gemstones seemed most representative of the movement of light, its nuances and the shadows created on unlit surfaces,’ curator Divyya Nirula, who has a master’s degree in stained glass craft from Sotheby’s in London, told IANS.

Physicists have been trying to seek the true qualities of light since the 1600s. Newton, Goethe, Huygens, Frensel and Einstein began by identifying building blocks of light to learn whether light was a wave or energy, Divyya said.

‘The Falling’ looks at light and darkness as dimensions and elements of the artwork itself.

‘The section comprising four compositions – ‘Face-Off’, ‘Twitter’, ‘Starburst’ and ‘Cosmic Connection’ – reflecting the layman’s idea of light and its absence, the darkness.

‘In the ‘Dialectics of Light & Dark’ and the ‘The Twirling Darkness’, the soul – seen as a coloured circle at the centre of a complex mosaic of shapes of Hindu floral motifs and Buddhist mandalas – tumbles through light and darkness and connects to the divine to redeem itself from ‘man’ (mind), ‘buddhi’ (intelligence) and ‘ahankar’ (pride)- considered man’s undoing in the Vedas,’ she said.

The colour palette varies between muted pastels and bright neon.

A series of cosmic lotuses in colours of Vishnu (blue), Lakshmi (gold and amber), Shiva and Parvati (red and black) stand out for their fluid strokes on glass.

‘I used the cathedral method to paint on the glass – it is an ancient European method of firing stained glass found in churches and castles,’ Divyya said.

More than 20 marble mandalas inlaid with mother-of-pearl, malachite and nakashi motifs from Agra become symbols of positivity with their jade, onyx, Italian beads, crystal and silk tassels,’ the artist said.

Divyya and her brother Arjun were inspired by glass work and gemstone art in Israel, a country which they toured as children with parents Nalin and Renoo, a veteran stained glass artist.

Bulk of her material was imported from Murano and Duomo in Italy and Germany.

The price for the glass compositions range between Rs.73,000 and Rs.1.8 lakh, while the mandalas cost between Rs.9,000 and Rs.37,000.

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