Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Quatre Femmes at the Atelier Gallery

Blue Enchantment by Honey Khor

There are four (Quatre) exceptional females (femmes) who feature in the latest exhibition at the Atelier Gallery. Four perspectives, four very different ways of image creation and bringing creativity to our attention. In music they would be a quartet, each bringing their virtuosity to the others, to meld into the whole, each vital in their own way, indispensable, yet unique.

From Iran comes Anahita Ghazanfari, no stranger to Atelier Gallery, who has, over the past few years, exhibited throughout her home country and Malaysia. Her work, though Hockneyesque at times, rejoices with the colour of dreams, demonstrating the artist’s ability to absorb her surroundings and reinvigorate the viewer with her creations and her obvious zest for life. Ghazanfari melds East to West in acrylic fusions and frequently dreamy, romantic, photo imagery, which questions both hemispheres and, ultimately, enables we the viewers to gain vivid insights into the worlds which she portrays.

Malaysian artist Honey Khor needs little introduction to a Malaysian audience. Since graduating from the Malaysian Institute of Art, Khor has steadily progressed to become an International artist who, nevertheless, continues to reveal her spiritual side. The two works on show for this exhibition are a re-visiting of her floral themes, but now with depth, mysticism and an artistry gleaned from her years of travel and practice. In this showing Khor investigates the mysterious nature of the enigmatic blue lotus, a flower steeped in symbolism since the days of the ancient Egyptians. She captures the notions of rebirth, as well as the flower’s aphrodisiac and hallucinogenic qualities.

Jiang Yao Yao takes her cue from the ancient Chinese mastery of ink, brush and pen. In the work she has chosen to represent herself in this exhibition, she reminds her viewers of the strength, yet delicacy, of her works. Vigorous ink lines give dynamism to her flowers, recalling the energies of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers, but not their sexuality. Instead, Jiang intimates a starkness, the raw energy of nature beset with challenges but vital enough to overcome to reveal beauty stripped bare. It is within these graphic images that the viewer is made aware of life’s struggle, and its ultimate reality, harmony.

Another Malaysian artist - Wai Chien Yong, spent her formative artistic years studying and exhibiting in Taiwan. Having graduated from the National Taiwan University of Arts, her work has been exhibited in a vast number of venues. She has won awards for her numerous exciting works. With a style not out of place with the Automatic Drawing of the Surrealists, or its predecessor Dada, Wai works juxtapose seemingly discordant imagery, yet successfully bringing them together to create a captivating whole. In some of her intriguing works, Arcimboldoesque faces appear from the fusion of leaves, fish and flora in graphic dreams, while exotic dancers parade under a blood red moon.

It is a triumph, and a the credit of the organisers of this enigmatic exhibition of four very different women’s works, that room has been given to allow for their diversity.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Racconti muti - Silent Tales by Alessio Schiavo

Alessio Schiavo was born in Gallarate, Italy, in 1965. He studied at Milan Polytechnic where he graduated in architecture, in 1990. He began his professional career in 1992, working mainly on residential architecture and interior design, and has participated in numerous architectural and design competitions. Since 2001 he is also an Adjunct Professor at the faculty of Architecture at Milan Polytechnic. Schiavo combines constant painting research with his architecture practice, and has won national awards for painting, both on solo shows and in group exhibitions. Schiavo has exhibited alongside the Chinese artist Luo Qi, both in Italy and in China.

The latest, diminutive (15x21 cm), artworks titled "Racconti muti - Silent Tales”, by northern Italian architect and painter Alessio Schiavo, have grown out of a collaboration for a book of illustrated poems.

Though still inspired by Mark Rothko’s unique brand of Abstract Expressionism, Schiavo brings a gentle “Italianess” to his own works, an almost ethereal gentility to images romanticized from antiquity. The reduction to their present size lends these thirty pieces an ephemeral quality, a fragility conducive to the poems they stand against.

 Schiavo has added a fresh element and melded it into the abstractions. Echoing the writer’s text, but not text itself, Schiavo renders a hand drawn 'text’ that is sans text as an echo of the poet’s words. Those cursive strokes recall the “Pseuoscripts” known as “Pseudo-Kufic”, “Kufesque” or occasionally Mongol (Phags-pa) script writing. They resemble cursive text, but represent no known language. Such imitative cursive imagery pre-dates even the southern Italian faux Arabic coins from the 10th century (those from Amalfi, and Salerno). Those fake coins (called tarì) used illegible pseudo-Kufic script instead of genuine Arabic, and were no doubt caste by artisans unfamiliar with Arabic language.

More importantly though, this form of “Pseuoscript” manifests itself in European paintings from the 10th century onwards (in France, Greece and Germany), but the most important discovery is “Pseuoscript”, arabesque lettering used as ornament in Italian painting of the 13th century onward. It is used as ornament by artists such as Cimabue (Cenni di Pepo,1240-1302) using false Arabic on a mandril (handkerchief) held by a crying Virgin Mary, in his painting “Crucifix” (1265-1268). Then there was Giotto (Giotto di Bondone, 1267-1337)), painter and architect from Florence. Masaccio (1401-1428) who used this form of cursive writing for halos in the “Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels” (1426), and not forgetting the pseudo-Arabic halos by Gentile da Fabriano (1370-1427), in the slightly earlier paintings such as “Adoration of the Magi” (1423).

Schiavo’s thirty pieces are not of silver. There is no suggestion of a betrayal of his art, but they are silent. As mentioned above, the artist incorporates pseudo-script, faux-language, into these thirty pieces, rendering them silent. The ‘language’ is false, unreadable, and therefore to all intents and purposes are “muti"  or “muto" (dumb) but not “Senza Voce”, having no voice, nor voiceless nor “taciturno” (tactiturn). The voice is the combination of pseudo-script and image, it speaks but with the language of art not of text. The abstraction, image making, and the manifestation of the illegible language sits as a counterpoint to the very legible poetry it co-exists with. Separated from the poetry Schiavo’s thirty pieces take on a substance, a voice, and importance of their own, they phenomenologically become.

See more in the next issue of The Blue Lotus magazine, out September 1st 2016

Monday, 8 August 2016

Dali and Duran

 It had all began something like this……

Since her studenthood at the Malaysian Institute of Art, Malaysian artist Honey Khor had always liked the surrealistic images painted by Salvador Dalí. She was intrigued by the dreamlike quality of his imagery, their sexuality and keen juxtapositions.

Twenty twelve had been a good year so far. Honey Khor was in Spain. She was, ostensibly, travelling with Malaysian friends. First to Barcelona, then on to Paris. She had followed the Gaudí trail, seen Casa Vincens, La Pedrera, Parc Güell, Palau Güell, Colonia Güell, El Drac de Gaudí at Finca Güell, Casa Batlló, Casa Calvet, the Cascada Fountain at Park de la Ciutadella and Gaudí’s crowning glory, La Sagrada Familia, his church, began in 1892 and still not finished.

Before she left for her travels, a little English bird had whispered in Honey’s ear saying that she really should go to see Dalí's Theatre-Museum, in Figueres, a small Catalan town a few minutes north from Barcelona by train. Honey, being an avid fan of all things Salvador Dalí, and most resolute that she did not want to go shopping with her friends, followed the little bird’s advice and arrived in Figueres alone, armed only with her 11x16.6cm Daiso drawing pad and some other sketching materials.

The day was drawing on. Honey made the decision to stay for a night in Figueres and continue her sketching the following day. She booked herself into a hotel, just off La Rambla (the town’s promenade), and resumed her sketching. Just before the evening light grew too dim to sketch by, she noticed an older man passing by her. He walked on, then walked back, then on and then back again as if troubled by something. Honey continued sketching before darkness enveloped that small Catalan town and she could sketch no longer.

A shadow cast itself over her work. The older gentleman stood looking down. His English was poor but he conveyed his interest in buying the sketch. It was, he said, his friend’s building and he would like to give the sketch as a present. Honey replied that the sketch was unfinished and that, perhaps, the gentleman would like to see her, in the morning, there, where she was sketching (on La Rambla), so that she might finish the piece.

With that, she stood up, telling the gentleman that she would go to her hotel, to rest. She began to walk in the direction of her hotel. So did he. She reached her hotel, just some moments from where she was sketching. Figueres is not a large town. She told the gentleman that she had arrived, said goodnight, and that she would see him in the morning. He opened the door for her to walk in, as any gentleman may, then stepped in himself. “This”, he said, “is my hotel”. She looked at him doubtfully. He presented her with his business card. The hotel was Hotel Durán. On the card was written Durán Hotel and Restaurant; Lluis Durán Simon. “I am Lluis Durán”.

On checking in, Honey had not noticed the hotel’s decor as she was in a hurry to begin sketching. Hotel Durán, as it turned out, was all that Honey could have wished for. Lluis Durán (Simon) was the son of Salvador Dalí’s friend, hotelier Lluis Durán (Camps) who had attended the same school as Dalí. Over the years Dalí had frequented Hotel Durán, had his meals there and, on occasions, stayed over in Room 101. Along the corridors, by the dining room, in all the public spaces around the hotel, were Dalí memorabilia. They had been garnered over the decades of friendship between the hotel and the artist. A much cheered and delighted Honey went for her rest.

The following day, a refreshed Honey took her breakfast at the hotel and wandered across to La Rambla to continue her sketch. She looked around for Señor Durán, but couldn’t see him. She sketched. After sketching she went across La Rambla to Carrer de la Rambla, 12, where she had café amb llet (coffee with milk) and continued to look for Señor Durán. Suddenly, as she sipped her coffee she saw him. He stood, gazing around him, obviously looking for her. She paid, left her coffee and greeted him.  His eyes lit up as he saw her, then greeted her with one of his cheekily famous smiles. Honey was presented to Señor Durán’s friend, gave the sketch and would accept no payment. Touched, Señor Durán invited Honey to accompany him on a little trip.

During that day Honey was shown many places concerned with Salvador Dalí as Señor Durán drove his equally ageing Audi around the Costa Brava, to Cadaqués and on to Dalí’s home at Port Lligat. There was only one ticket left to see The Portlligat Museum-House at Platja Portlligat, where Dalí had lived and painted from 1930 to 1982. Señor Durán insisted that Honey take that ticket. He waited. Later, in the evening, Señor Lluis Durán Simon invited Honey to accompany him to see the Dalí Theatre-Museum by Night, and so ended a most perfect Dalí day, Honey’s brief introduction to the Costa Brava and to Catalonia. The next day Honey had to say adéu to Señor Durán, Hotel Durán and Figueres. She was due to return to her friends in the apartment in Barcelona. She had to ready herself for the flight to Paris, and all things Van Gogh.

If you would like to read more, the full article will be in The Blue Lotus Arts Magazine, out 1st September 2016

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Visiting Vehí (Dalí's photographer)

Señor Joan Vehí Serinyana (otherwise known as Joan Vehí) and I
It had been three years since Señor Lluís Duran, Figueres hotelier and bon amic, had driven Honey and I over the Pyrenees to the Alt Empordà comarca seaside town of Cadaqués (2013). It was there that we had first met Salvador Dali’s carpenter and photographer, Joan Vehí Serinyana (otherwise known as Joan Vehí). On this occasion (2016), it was Catalan writer Azucena Moya who drove, helped us with translating and conversationally kept our minds occupied and away from the sharp bends and sheer drops of the steep Pyrenees mountain range. Sparkling Azucena had previously assisted before, and we were very happy to have such an able, knowledgable, person with us. She had helped translate in with my Art Talk in Figueres (2015), and Honey’s previous art exhibitions there.

Over many years Cadaqués has hosted a number of famous people. These include Pablo Picasso (also a friend of the Pitxot family), Antoni Pitxot (friend, collaborator and co-designer of Salvador Dali’s museum in Figueres) and Marcel Duchamp, who first discovered the town in 1933, and returned for the Summers from 1958 to 1968. Man Ray, René Magritte, Federico García Lorca and of course Salvador Dalí, all visited or stayed on in Cadaqués. As a youth Dalí stayed at the Pitxot house, and learned painting from Ramón Pichot (Pitxot) his mentor, and who was, coincidentally, friends with Pablo Picasso in Paris. Dalí had also met the love of his life, Gala (Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, then Gala Eluard, wife of Paul Eluard) when he was staying in Cadaqués in 1929. In 1930 Dalí began building his home in Port Lligat, just along the coast from Cadaqués. He lived and painted there for 40 years, until Gala’s death in 1982.

Joan Vehí was born in Cadaqués, Catalonia, Spain, on 30th May in the year that Dalí met Gala, 1929. It was also the year of the Barcelona International Exposition, the second Worlds Fair to be held in Barcelona, the first being 1888. At the tender age of fourteen Vehí, took the initiative to become a carpenter. Manuel Torrents was Vehí’s first teacher, teaching with manual tools. In 1947 Vehí learned to operate machines, and later, established the first factory wood machines in Cadaqués. Working with wood enabled Vehí to mix with the artists visiting Cadaqués, including Salvador Dalí.

Señor Lluís Duran, an old acquaintance of Señor Vehí, had arranged for Azucena, Honey and I to visit with him for an informal interview, as part of my background research. Once more we traversed the steep, pebbly, white and blue, vermillion and pink bougainvillea clad corridors, down and up to that old carpentry workshop that Señor Vehí, a cabinetmaker and carpenter by profession, had converted into a small museum dedicated to his photography (1996). We remembered that it was adjacent to the stunningly white Església de Santa Maria (Saint Mary’s Church), in Cadaqués.

To read the interview go to Issuu, The Blue Lotus issue 4, available 1st of September 2016

Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Visit to L'Escala

left to right..Lluis Duran, Lluis Roura and Martin Bradley
Our host, friend, and mentor in everything Catalonia, hotelier Señor Lluis Duran, was most insistent that we visit with his bon amic, an artist and yet another Lluís, Lluís Roura Juanola. Honey and I were in Figueres for a short break from her exhibitions in Lombardy, Italy. We had a tight schedule which began and ended with catching up with Spanish friends, eating copious amounts of tapes (Catalan Tapas) and spending time with our extended family, the Durans. Eventually, after much persuasive persistence on Señor Duran’s behalf, we surrendered, letting him drive us in his ageing Audi through Catalonia’s charming Province of Girona to the antique fishing town of L'Escala.

It has been written that L’Escala, a municipality of Alt Empordà, in Girona, is acknowledged for two things, the ancient (Greco-Roman) ruins known as Empúries, and as a small fishing town producing the salty small fish we call anchovies and Catalans call seitons (which some say are simply the best and mentioned by Francisco Zamora in his "Diary of journeys in Catalonia”, 1700s). To this, admittedly short, list I add a third - Lluís Roura Juanola, or Lluís Roura as he prefers. It is said that Catalan artist Lluís Roura Juanola came into this world on a rainy day, at dusk, on the 5th of December, 1943. He arrived in San Miguel de Campmajor, in the province of Girona, Spain. Roura’s birth was premature, complicated. In that dire situation one Dr. Verdaguer took water and baptised the child, believing as he did so that the new born had not long to live. Roura, however, survived.

Señor Duran drove us past the early Summer countryside, past petrol stations also selling wine,  past the turnoff to Roses and the roundabout where Roura’s mosaic (executed by Armand Olive in 2001) stands, along near the coastal waters of L’Escala (the scale), around and up to Roura’s magnificent multi-tired house overlooking the bay. In front of that traditionally white-painted house, in the Spanish tradition, stood an antique olive tree, still bearing fruit. Being elevated, and being by the bay, a welcome breeze cooled us as the sun was beginning its slide towards the horizon. As it did Roura, a keen photographer, whisked out his camera and began to take photographs of us all, not to forget the brush of the sun’s dying rays across the scant clouds and calm waters. I turned, startled to see a stork perched on the roof, gazing too at the sun setting. Roura gave a chuckle. The bird was transfixed not by the sunset, but by its fixtures to the roof. It was a very real statuette. Many, it seems, had been caught by Roura’s little jest, including me.

Since his first art block drawings, back in the very different Spain of 1958, Roura has, over the decades, dedicated himself to the Catalan environment which has nurtured him for so many years. As a boy, taking the very first artistic steps into what was to become his amazing career, in 1960 Roura had won second prize in his first art competition then, later, in the same year, a first prize in another. Through the decades he has gone on to win awards, and amazing accolades for work which has brought him to the fore of Catalonian artists, and honoured by the town in which he now lives. Roura’s paintings have always had the sense of ‘giving back’, enriching the region which has become a constant subject for many of his larger scale works. L'Alt Empordà inspired Roura to paint and have published a weighty tome of his paintings about that region, including El pas de la tramuntana (1987) which captures the sombreness of the wind which can cause madness, and Geologia Cap de Creus (1986) echoing both Salvador Dali, whose home was nearby, and his friend Antoni Pixot, both of whom had been inspired by that most especial Catalan nature reserve.

Roura engaged his visitors with an honestly smiling personality which projected his joie de vivre and good naturedness. His greatness has come through his painting the immediate environment, and later his photography. As we traversed the various layers of his seaside home, travelling towards his voluminous penthouse studio, we were led through his art gallery where huge, joyous, paintings acted like windows into colourful worlds. Worlds drenched by Mediterranean sun, warm, practically exotic or picturesquely static, frozen, frostily white but nevertheless dreamy Catalonian landscapes like Tapissat de neu, Tapis (2006) or La nevada La Vajol (2006) awaited our gaze. One impressive landscape caught my eye (La Tardor - Autumn, one of The Four Season series, 1987). It was a stunningly fiery landscape in autumnal colours.  A furious dance of reds swirled to their own gypsy tune with vermillion, red-orange, hot yellows drifting back to calmer pink shades dotted with practically staid green trees edging the eye to the horizon. Blue/grey with swathes of yellow swept into the practically placid sky. It was a flamenco tour-de-force worthy of Turner’s Sunset Over a Lake (1840).

We stepped up and into Lluís Roura’s studio. Dominating the room was a most impressive picture window looking out to the town, revealing the extremely scenic Bay of Roses, and its setting sun. Artistic paraphernalia were strewn across Roura’s stupendously large atelier penthouse. It was obvious that that generosity of space also doubled as an office as desks and a computer shared the space with easels, tripods and tables laden with paint-filled palettes, brushes and paint tubes in various stages of use and, of course, paintings. One easel mounted, ready primed, blank canvas and all the references the artist requires for that new work stood awaiting the artists hand.

As if by prior arrangement, the outside sun began to grace the sky with gold. Roura grabbed another camera and dashed outside, encouraging us to do the same. He has taken thousands of photographs from his rooftop terrace, capturing myriad sunrises and sunsets and everything in-between. Looking at the spectacular celestial display one could understand why. Colour changes were so rapid that the human eye could barely catch them, but a camera lens can.

Lluís Roura’s expansive painting of the Holy Land, titled The Landscape of Jesus’s Baptism, executed between 2010 and 2011, resides in the chapel of the baptistery Sant Pere de Figueres, in Figueres town, near the Dali Museum.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Amorous Delight; Amarushataka (The Sutra Dance Company Performance)

I had tickets for the final night (of the four night spree) of Ramli Ibrahim’s dance presentation, Amorous Delight; Amarushataka, by his Sutra Dance Company, at Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPaC).

Ramli and I had first met a few weeks previously, at Sutra House, during a gathering of the Malaysian Art Institute alumni. I thought him charming. A vision in his South Asian clothing, and a good advert for an energetic life. I had long been an admirer of his performances, his zest for life and his unwavering dedication to dance, and all that that entails. I was delighted to finally meet him, though briefly, for a talk amidst the noise and furore of the art school’s celebration, which Ramli had hosted. Later, I was invited to attend his latest production and performance, Amorous Delight, hence the tickets. It had tried to rain, but nothing was going to spoil that enchanted evening.

Before the show, in the foyer, was a small exhibition of intriguing works by Odisha artist/designer Jyoti Ranjan Swain which were also centred around the spirit of love. Those mixed media images, in their delicate ink and gouache/colour on Mill-Waste sheets, were an unexpected, yet delicious, primer to the anticipated show. 

The Sutra Dance Theatre dance performance of Amorous Delight gave homage to five verses (1, 4, 8, 40 and 74) from a collection of 100 Indian Sanskrit quatrains titled Amarushataka, by the 7th c. Indian poet Amaru. Some of the later palm leaf manuscripts (podi) were illustrated by an anonymous Master of Sharanakula (19th Century, Orissa, India). Dr Dinanath Pathy, along with Eberhard Fischer, had recently written on that very subject, for ARTIBUS ASIAE, publishers at Museum Rietburg, Zurich. Dr Pathy, resplendently elegant, was present at that night’s performance. A selection of illustrations taken from that 19th Century manuscript were projected as a backdrop to that DPaC Amorous Delight performance of the Orissa (Indian) dance known as Odissi.

There are many classical Indian dances. The oldest text of Nāṭya Śāstra of Bharata Muni (sanskrit) represents a detailed stagecraft manual, elucidating and observing how various dance styles; Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, and Mohiniyattam etc should look and be performed. The Nāṭya Śāstra suggests that there is “no axiom, no concept in the universe that cannot be expressed by the body”, so spake Ramil Ibrahim in a recent ‘Ted Talk. The Nāṭya Śāstra introduced the theory of ‘bhava' and ‘rasa’, vital to Indian aesthetics. ‘Bhava' meaning an emotional state or mood portrayed by the dancer/actor, while ‘Rasa’ “taste” or “essence”, referring to the sentiment that ‘bhava' has manifested by the actor, and therefore evoked within the audience. In the Nāṭya Śāstra ‘Odhra Magadha’ is mentioned, and may be identified as the earliest precursor of the present day Odissi dance style so beloved of the the Sutra Dance Company.

In the theater we heard, but could not see, the players of music. Ordinarily an Odissi orchestra might consist of a ‘pakhawaj’ (drum) player, a singer, a flutist, a sitar or violin player and a manjira (hand cymbals) player. Dancers are adorned in Odiya silver jewellery and an especial coiffeur. along with voluminous Sambalpuri (Western Orissa style) or Bomkai saris (from the Odisha village of the same name). They are often vibrant in colour and unique to the dance style.

The Amarushataka collection of semi-erotic poems deal with “delights and deprivations” of love, and the “dark anguish of union-separation”, according to one reviewer for The Tribune (2006), and tell of "the young beloved of slender body and bewitching face" with "enchantingly dishevelled tresses, the vermilion on the forehead smudged", "tiny beads of sweat shining as the earrings swing in playful rhythm”. The poems are intimate, loving, with a touch of the poet Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Mohammad Balkhi) echoing sweet forlornness in longing.

With the aid of superbly lyrical classical Indian music from Srinivas Satpathy, Guru Dhaneshwar Swain and Ramarao Patra, Sivarajah Natarajan’s evocative lighting triggered the imagination to set the scene for a powerfully memorable performance. Ramli and company were, of course, simply stunning in their performances. From the large bow-drawing gestures, to the minuscule kohl lined eye movements and quasi-erotic kinesics, the performers intrigued and delighted a most enthusiastic audience. We watched enthralled as one performer indicated that her glances and her smiles would adorn the doorway, waiting for her lover, her breasts glinting with anticipatory perspiration replacing water pots. It was bosom heaving, love lorn poetics, skilfully transposed into stunning dance far surpassing the wanton gyrations of Bollywood Hrithik Roshan/Aishwarya Rai or Tamil film Urmila Matondkar/Prabhu Deva couplings, or music maestro A.R.Rahman at his best.

The performances equalling those of Nijinsky and Nureyev dancing L'après-midi d'un faune (from Stéphane Mallarmé's poem) revealed éros and agápe, Greek expressions of love. Éros as passion, seeing and appreciating the beauty in another and aspiring to know a spiritual truth, perhaps a truth through that cosmic dancer Shiva, as the Nataraja, lord of dance revealing the cyclical nature of the universe. Agápe, Plato thought of as the highest form of love, the love of man for god, or God, also the love for a wife and children. In 1970, the Beatles had finally sung “In the end the love you take, is equal to the love you make”. A lot of love was make, figuratively, metaphorically that night, owing to the efforts of a wide range of people who brought Amorous Delight; Amarushataka to life.

After show the audience birds twittered, they chit chatted, taking group photos and selfies. Indian memories were still fragrant, chords still vibrant and the air of love still charged sweet and sour, even in the colder light of the foyer, where normally the suspension of disbelieve begins to unravel.
Be-costumed dancers mingled, smiled, posed for photo after photo in the still electric theatre foyer, the scent of Jasmine still sweet from the dance.

The Sutra Dance Company’s excellent performance of Amorous delight was a triumph of near erotica. Together, the skillful ensemble held the prancing reigns of sadness, exhilaration, romance in its grasp, leading the audience this way and that, but always steady. It was a full gamut of emotion, visual and audible, melding choreography, poetry, Odissi Sangita (music), lighting and poignant graphics. A sublime hour rushed past and in true theatrical tradition we were left, like Dickens’ Oliver Twist, wanting more.