Kota Neelima is not just an author but also an artist who expresses her philosophical thought through vivid paintings. In her latest series of paintings titled ‘Metaphors of the Moon’, Kota Neelima explores the questions of religion and god and reconciliations of life. In this exclusive chat with Latha Srinivasan of NewsX, Kota Neelima explains what her series is about, the metaphors she has used and more.
NewsX: What was the inspiration for this series of art titled ‘Metaphors of the Moon’?
Kota Neelima: My art for the last decade and more has been inspired by the Indian philosophical thought. The paintings in the past have been about causation and the continuities of the visual beyond time and space. This series, Metaphors of the Moon, is about reconciliation. The paintings are inspired from the spirituality of the ordinary people, especially those who live in the Indian villages. As I researched the agrarian crisis of the Indian countryside, I was fascinated by the way the farmers find representation of the universe in the simple symbols of nature. The paintings of this 2018 series are based on the interpretations of the Moon and the mind, and how the reconciliation towards life takes place despite the hardships, failure and despair.
NewsX: God and religion exist in practically everyone’s life. How critical do you think they have become in the India of today?
Kota Neelima: Concept of religion and God is one of the most beautiful constructions of the human mind. The enlightened mind is also aware that the Absolute or the One, may or may not be in the form and type that religion gives us to believe. That is why, within every believer there is a skeptic, and within ever skeptic, there is a believer. The mind searches for the infinite because it is part of the infinite, and looks for its source. In India today, however, the political context of religion is being conveyed as the way of finding identity and difference. This is essentially unviable because while the political context of religion is power, the spiritual context of religion is self-awareness. There can be no power without self-awareness, and no self-awareness without spirituality. Those who believe in God know this.
NewsX: We reconcile in life every day. How tough was it to capture this concept in art?
Kota Neelima: Good question. Hope is often talked about, but the source of hope is little explored. In a mortal world, hope has to be placed in something more substantive than the material parameters of success or happiness. It has to be based in the reconciliation to the imminent end that is implicit in every human action and human thought. From reconciliation, hope emerges and inspires life. To picture this thought in art has been my endeavour in this series, Metaphors of the Moon.