The Magic of Being

K G Subramanyan. Artist of considerable repute and felicity, working in a wide range of media and materials. Writer, also of a wide range of books, mostly published by Seagull, Kolkata.

His most recent collection of essays, The Making of magic, a play on the title of the exhibition of his works that is on since yesterday at the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, and which showed earlier in Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore, The Magic of Making. Either way, it works...

In the book, Subramanyan "expresses his concerns with a wide range of issues—art, aesthetics, visual perception and creativity; the importance of craft practice and its nurturing; the role and future of old traditions and cultural institutions in the contemporary world; the detrimental effects of the Industrial Revolution and high-technology societies; the constant depletion of the environment; our nation’s inability to cope with the education and employment of its divergent multitudes; and the present-day scenes in art, education and society.

Acknowledging that globalization is an essential and inevitable feature of modern civilization with its inbuilt impulsions, Subramanyan emphasizes that an intelligent human being must negotiate them with insight and vigilance to ensure a space for himself (and for the community he has intimate ties with) to grow towards greater fulfilment. In turns questioning, critical, forewarning and instructive, these essays well from the artist’s own observations, readings, experiences and insights as artist, adviser, teacher, student and citizen of a world fast losing sight of its roots as its head struggles to keep par with the relentless pace of progress set by other worlds and other pressures."

Subramanyan has written a number of books for children- fabulous tales with whimsical illustrations, well worth collecting! He is also a poet, and has translated Chitrakar, a set of four pieces written by Benodebehari Mukherjee, one of the most influential and highly regarded artists in the history of modern Indian art, after he lost his eyesight. The sensitivity with which Subramanyan approaches the subject makes the translation unique.