By Purva Grover
The whiff of fresh oil paint draws me into the room. I spot a wooden jar holding a bunch of paintbrushes, as I lift a bottle of oil and declare to my husband that it’s baby oil. “To clean the brushes,” I say, flaunting my knowledge of the arts. A cat is meowing on a couch, resting behind a stack of canvases. The steam from the cup of coffee also suggests that the artist will be returning soon. Yet, I’m inside here taking my time to absorb in the aromas of artistic freedom. For two days, I’ve decided to forget the courtesies and invade the privacy of strangers; and my husband has reluctantly (initially) joined me in exploring Grožnjan, the unworldly sleepy town in Croatia’s Istria county. Just that this sleepy village is a real place, and not a utopian idea.
Continue reading Spying into a haven of artists
By Purva Grover
Today (November 1), I have planned it well, or at least I think so. As you read this, I am hopefully typing away at the speed of an aircraft propeller. I would have slept earlier the previous night, no Halloween celebrations or late weekend nights for me. At the precise moment, when the newspaper would have reached your doorstep, I would have already had my first (don’t judge me by the numbers) cup of coffee and sitting down with my laptop and typing away. It’s the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and just like the 300,000 other participants (and counting), I would have fooled myself into believing that I have things under control to write 50,000 words until November 30.
Continue reading Why do I torture myself to write 50,000 words in 30 days?
By Keith Pereña
As the minibus to Manila City Hall started descending down Quezon Bridge, I could not help but notice the building adjacent it. From my seat on the left, it looked like a decrepit structure, its façade covered in perhaps moss or soot. But years later, as I walked past this magnificent building on my way to the metro station, I found out that it was the Manila Metropolitan Theatre — an Art Deco building that was inaugurated in 1931.
Continue reading For its next act, Manila’s MET theater will rise from its thrashes
By Tirtho Banerjee
Dusk was slowly tiptoeing and the zephyr gently swaying the gulmohar tree. Adeebah didi (as an older sister is referred to in Hindi), our landlord’s granddaughter, who I looked up to as my mentor then, was explaining to me an English poem from my intermediate (Grade12) book. It was either Sarojini Naidu’s The Palanquin Bearers or P.B. Shelley’s Stanzas Written In Dejection Near Naples. The year was 1987 or early 1988 in Lucknow.
Continue reading When the legendary Urdu poet Bashir Badr patted my back
By Janice Rodrigues
Looking at Alessio Mamo’s bold work, it is hard to believe this award-winning photographer only got started in the profession some seven-eight years ago. Hailing from Italy, Alessio worked as a chemist but confessed he was getting tired of the job. So, when the company he worked with had a crisis and failed to renew his contract, he saw it as an opportunity to “be free to choose his path”. He started travelling, taking pictures and, over time, getting them published. “It made me realise that it was possible to become a photojournalist — so, I put my 100 per cent into that field,” he says.
Continue reading Nobody’s war: The pictures that tell the story of ghastly violence
By Anamika Chatterjee
Who was it who said that a good story is one that holds a mirror to our collective conscience? That may provide an inroad into the world of dastangoi. An ancient storytelling form in Urdu, it has lately acquired a niche for its incisive takes on society and politics. Be it sedition or Partition, performers have taken on inconvenient truths of our time and made them more accessible to a wider audience.
Continue reading Dastangoi keeps the art of oral storytelling alive
By Keith Pereña
“There’s something poetic about a painter who dies before finishing his piece,” I told my colleagues while talking about a recent discovery made by the National Museum in the Philippines. An unknown sitter for the celebrated Filipino artist Fernando Amorsolo’s last portrait was finally identified. And it took them 44 years to discover this.
Continue reading She was the most beautiful woman I’ve seen on canvas