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Oh! Hanuman
 
He brings comfort to the saintly, the sanguine, or, most importantly, those spirited seekers trying to build a place for themselves in a harsh and hostile world. Courage begins to flow naturally through the veins of those who begin to praise him through song or prayer, who offer him flowers, or even just keep him in their minds at different moments in any ordinary day. Hanuman empowers, and any one who has even a passing acquaintance with our beloved monkey-god will likely vouch for this with some personal story of their own.
 
His form offers many possibilities – he is sometimes green and sometimes a bright orange. His tail has a bell at the end of it in some popular images, is held proudly aloft in some, while in others it is respectfully lowered to be wound in a curl or two at his feet. The mouth is highly stylized in folk sculptures like the traditional painted wooden forms from Andhra. The puffed out portion of his monkey upper lip is exaggerated to resemble twin spheres by some craftsmen, and his torso is shown by some to be very muscular. Swamimalai bronzes show his waist and chest to be nearly as perfectly proportioned as his lord Rama’s.
 
Hanuman’s image can inspire a million artists. Among my own favourites is a calendar picture of baby Hanuman complete with dimpled knees and infant curls, reaching out for a taste of the orange-like sun. While Ganesha has undoubtedly overtaken every other divinity in the Hindu pantheon in terms of artistic (and commercial) representation, Hanuman offers the artistic imagination a range or form, posture, embellishment, and heroic context that few others can match.
 
Which is why it is so satisfying to see the collection of Hanuman paintings curated by Shalini Biswajit. Sarla Chandra imparts a wistful quality to devotee Hanuman looking adoringly up at his Lord. Rajeswara Rao’s Hanuman looks all set to embrace the world as he exhorts us to ‘Live! Rejoice!’.A.V Ilango’s Veera Anjaneya kneels in the classic single kneed posture of this famed messenger of Rama. Madhukar Munde and Muralidharan lend a luminescent quality to the mountain Drona with its glittering herb Sanjivani, carried in one hand by flying Hanuman. Hemalatha’s enameled copper forms are both somber and majestic, while Saravanan’s close ups of the Hanuman face will bring joy to any Hanuman lover. A green flying Hanuman with the bewildered ten-headed Ravana below him by Senathipathi spells unmistakable victory.  Ravindran's sculptures bring a looming, iconic quality to Hanuman, while S. G. Vasudev's work has the inevitable resonance of the Ashok Vatika and the tree under which a mourning Sita was cheered by sight of her husband's ring.
 
I wish this effort every success and hope that it brings home to many the reassurance to be drawn by mere sight of our beloved Hanuman.  
 
 
Scharada Dubey
Writer and Poet
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Oh! Hanuman

An exhibition of paintings and sculptures by, S.Hemalatha, A.V. Ilango, Madhukar Munde, K.Muralidharan, A.Rajeswara Rao, V.Ravindran, S.Saravanan, Sarla Chandra, M.Senathipathi and S.G.Vasudev Oh Hanuman! is a collection of paintings and sculptures that form a tribute to the celebrated Hindu god Hanuman, the divine messenger of Shri Ram.