Arts and Cultures
Atma Arpan - Paintings Series by Suniyata
Suniyata Khanna is a contemporary artist who resides and works in New Delhi. Born in a spiritual family, she has imbibed the spiritual traditions of her family and regards her paintings as blessings from her Guru whom she follows for spiritual guidance.
She is essentially a self-taught artist and has achieved great heights with her efforts and creativity. She has made 17 solo exhibitions and more than 17 national and international group participations, which include an invitation by the Saudi Embassy to showcase her work in Riyadh. She has received several national and international awards. She has attended many art camps, which include a recent exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art at New Delhi. A distinguishing feature of her art is her unique colour palette and beautiful intricate textures. Her works are in many Indian and international connoisseurs' collections.
Suniyata has released her new painting series called Atma Arpan meaning, "self-surrender." This is an important concept in the ancient Indian philosophy and spiritual tradition of India. It refers to the surrender of oneself before the Supreme Divine Power and progressing on the spiritual journey to merge one's consciousness with the Eternal Consciousness. It has been the goal of many ancient spiritual sages and also of Sufi saints who explored their spirituality beyond the confines of the organised religious rituals of the world. Suniyata follows the religious traditions of her family as most people do. However, exploring of the journey to self-surrender is a higher spiritual goal that takes one towards the realisation of the Super-Consciousness.
The style of Suniyata's paintings reflects the styles of some great contemporary artists such as those of Van Gogh and the narrative style shows traces of resemblance with some great Indian historical artists such as MAR Chughtai. Colour scheme is subdued but at the same, shows a brilliance like the soul illuminating from within.
Her painting titled Aatma-Arpan in this series reflects a merger of the universe with Krishna, who embodies Supreme Consciousness. It's an experience of complete surrender before Krishna i.e., Supreme Divine, taking him both as the means and the end of the spiritual journey. This kind of absolute surrender requires leaving all other worldly dependencies and accepting Krishna alone as the ultimate spiritual goal. This is a central ancient Indian philosophy, which Suniyata delineates in this painting.
Similarly, Sakshatkar or ultimate realisation has two versions. They reflect a stage of experiencing the ultimate consciousness, which can't be expressed; it only can be experianced when the person is already at the stage of what s/he is seeking. This stage is reached when all distractions are eliminated and the soul is centred within. Sakshatkar II shows the stage of eternal serenity where all worldly feelings are subdued.
The spiritual journey has the eternal stage where the soul completely merges with the goal. This is often described by the spiritual guides as a stage of Preeti or eternal Love, where the devotee merges with the divine. The soul is completely one with the Supreme Consciousness, which is the height and the depth, knowledge and realisation all merged into one.
The painting titled as Preeti shows Krishna and Radha becoming one by their symbols of peacock feather and Veena. Here, Krishna is the Supreme Consciousness and Radha is the Soul seeking to merge with Krishna. During this stage of merger, there is no distinction between Soul and Goal, or Radha and Krishna.
This series by Suniyata is worth exploring and taking a deep look into how ancient Indian spirituality can be expressed through the medium of contemporary art.