AuroSrishti, Sri Aurobindo Society’s Center for Integral Art, Design and Aesthetics, recently conducted a day-long event on August 19 at Matriniketan.
For this event titled ‘The Future of Indian Art, Design and Aesthetics in the Light of Integral Yoga,’ Dr. Beloo Mehra, Senior Academic Mentor from AuroBharati was invited for delivering two talks.
Dr. Mehra was the keynote speaker at the event. Her opening talk at the event on the topic – ‘Sri Aurobindo on the National Value of Art’ was meant to set the tone for the day-long deliberations which included three other talks and an interactive workshop.
In her opening talk, Dr. Mehra reminded the audience that Sri Aurobindo was keenly aware of the deeper significance of arts and aesthetic development for the overall human development, both at the individual and collective level. She walked the audience through the three main functions of art that Sri Aurobindo speaks of – aesthetic, educational and spiritual.
Through various examples of different art works, Dr. Mehra also interwove in her presentation the ancient Indian view on arts and aesthetics. A few stories that highlight the spiritual foundation of all Indian arts and Indian view of aesthetics were also briefly mentioned. She had prepared a PowerPoint presentation with several examples of artworks that highlighted the points she was making in her talk. She briefly spoke about some of the artworks she had selected for her presentation.
The talk was much appreciated by the audience and a brief interaction on some key points from the talk took place after Dr. Mehra ended her presentation.
For her second talk scheduled after lunch, Dr. Mehra highlighted the Mother’s words on Art and Yoga. For this session also, she had chosen carefully a few artworks for her presentation which she briefly explained to highlight the points from several writings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo on how Art can be taken up in the Yogic spirit. An important point she highlighted was the role of inner vision in the creation of art as well as the appreciation of art. This she reminded the audience is deeply emphasised by Sri Aurobindo when explaining the spiritual foundation of Indian arts.
Dr. Mehra also shared with the audience some of the drawings and paintings of the Mother for this second presentation. She brought their attention to the point that while art like everything else can be a part of one’s inner progress in yoga, it is important that the vital’s need for public acknowledgement, appreciation and fame be overcome by the aspirant if art has to become a means for growth in consciousness.
This talk was followed by some enlightening exchange with the audience as the topic brought out several dimensions of not only Art as Yoga but also the Mother’s work as an artist and also a teacher of painting for several Ashramites.