Painting the Unspoken: Reshma Thomas

Trivandrum based artist Reshma Thomas proved through her brush strokes that art speaks louder than words. Like the saying goes “A picture is worth a thousand words”, her works break the barriers of language, distance and culture. Her canvas always touched the most sensitive, unsaid issues that were casted out or that were hushed in the society.

It was merely a fascination towards colors that later blended with her cause, letting her create an abstract style and a tool to express her mind. “My art stands for silence, especially for the silenced community”, is what she says about her works.  It’s the story of a human being told through the strokes of colors. Her works: ‘A is for Art’, ‘Mind Network’, ‘Identity’ and ‘Imprints’ addressed the issues faced by third gender especially in Kerala and other issues that haunts our society. Each of her work is a reflection of an emotion associated with the community; oppression, depression, and solidarity. Her strong interest in humanity let her emotions see through vibrant colors.

She believes that it’s an artist responsibility to bring attention to unarticulated issues and spread awareness through creative expression. Currently she is working on the story of transformation called ‘The Secret Metamorphosis’, which will be exhibited at Golf Links, Trivandrum on 18th January, 2018.

Words by Anushree Udayakumar
Photos by Reshma Thomas

Breaking through Mural traditions

Inspired mural painter KR Babu was in the capital city for a solo exhibition at Alliance Française, titled ‘Technicolour Muse. His paintings are deeply influenced by nature and that love is truly reflected in his paintings. “An artist is someone who can create something new. I attempt to create my own stylized versions of nature through my works”, he says when asked about his painting style. He started with traditional mural paintings but deviated with contemporary themes and created a new style of acrylic paintings using elements of mural art.

An ardent nature lover like him believes that ‘We can always plant a tree if it is cut down but it is impossible to create a hill once ruined’, such as the theme of his paintings; if one series talks about animals, then the other one would be on birds or plants. He considers it as his motto to give life to art by infusing Mother Nature in his paintings.

He was into painting since his childhood and recently turned into a full-time painter after resigning from his career as a teacher of art. The artist has conducted many group and solo painting exhibitions in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kochi and now in Trivandrum.

Words by Anushree Udayakumar
Photographs from Goutham Narayanan, Various Internet Sources

Books in Shelf (October)

The Coalition Years 1996-2012

Author: Pranab Mukherjee

The book highlights the period of the Coalition Year, which began in 1996, that sheds lights on the ups and down of the Indian politics during the period-as seen through the eyes of one of the chief architect of the post-Congress era of Indian politics. The book also speaks about the journey of Pranab Mukherjee as the Cabinet Minister, beginning from 2004.

 

Origin

Author: Dan Brown

‘Origin’ is the fifth installment in the Robert Langdon series, following ‘Angels and Demon’, ‘The Da Vinci Code’, ‘The Lost Symbol’ and ‘Inferno’. For the first time the series is featuring modern art; the other thrillers were all centered on the classical art.  The plot of the novel centered on the paradoxical interplay between science and religion, while the heart of the novel questions on the faith, that believes in the act of God in creating man.

 

Turtles All The Way Down

Author: John Green

The novel centers on the life of young woman Aza Holmes, a 16 year old student who is struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder. Speaking about the novel the author stated that “this is my first attempt to write directly about the kind of mental illness that has affected my life since childhood, so while the story is fictional, it is also quite personal.”  The story also focuses on bonds like lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, star Wars fan fiction and tuatara.

 

Forever is true

Author: Novoneel Chakraborty

The book ‘Forever is True’ is a sequel to ‘Forever is Lie’, a dark love thriller, which focuses on exposing the deadly limits that a person can go to because of a ruined childhood.

 

 

The Sun and her Flowers

Author: Rupi Kaur

The book is a poetry, divided into five chapters and each chapter is a celebration of love in its all form, that is described through the journey of  wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming.

 

 

The Rooster Bar

Author: John Grisham

The novel highlights a disturbing world of for-profit legal education, and the plot of the novel focuses on three main characters- Mark Todd and Zola, who came to Law school in order to change the world and make it a better place. But with the turning pages, the three of them get caught in The Great Law School Scam and struggles to find their way out.

 

Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead

Author: Rick Riordan

A fantasy novel series which is the third and final book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series. The novel unfolds the adventurous journey of Magnus and his friends to the farthest borders of Jotunhein and Niflheim in the pursuit of Asgard’s greatest threat.

 

 

 

Weaving Magic at Pencil Tip

Manoj

For any artist, the choice of medium is significant. Sculptors usually choose the hardness of igneous rocks or the pliability of wood to express their creative thoughts. Meet M. Manoj, a fourth year student at Pookode Veterinary College, who has chosen the delicate graphite medium. With amazing precision and raw talent Manoj curates miniature sculptures at the tip of pencils. He has created minute models of the Eiffel Tower, the map of India, faces of people, and almost all objects we see around us with exactness.

Hailing from a humble background, Manoj had no training in the fine arts. His interest in graphite curating began as he watched a Telugu movie. His keen observation and research has added over 70 pieces of fine art to his credit. He prefers 10B pencils as the graphite core is thicker, but he doesn’t shy away from the slender nibs of HB pencils. After studying models carefully, he uses surgical blade to etch and sculpt them.

He has held 5 exhibitions of his work so far, the latest one in Thrissur in association with Solace, a charitable trust and all proceedings are towards charity. This young, noble man is truly talented and we at Cream Life wish him all the best in his future endeavors!

The abstract strokes of Robert Lopez

Amateur artist Robert Lopez from Trivandrum is a self-taught artist.  Through his spontaneous brush strokes he attempts to capture the continuous drama taking place in each frame of nature. Robert Lopez, who started his work in portrait and landscapes, gradually realized the futility of portraying such frames of nature through photography since nature undergoes constant change. He then took a keen interest in abstract representations and has evolved into an abstract painter. He believes that only through abstract style can the phenomena of perennial change be translated to canvas. And he perceives this switch as part of “growing up”.

The most amusing part of his abstract design is that it is an excellent fusion of abstract and expression in artistry. Through his portraiture, he intends to explain the other side of art and nature by blending abstractionism with expressionism. He uses a visual language of shape, form, color and line of expression to create the most aesthetic visual composition of nature. Most of his works are abstract landscapes, which he prefers to call ‘Eco-scapes,’

Robert has gracefully exhibited his landscape frames on canvas with deft dots, tiny strokes and an array of geometrical form with no compromise on aesthetic value. His subjective approach to the world is very much reflected in his art works through his unique use of symmetry and rhythm of colors.

Words by Anushree Udayakumar
Photographs by Goutham Narayanan

Unboxing ‘Book-O-Box’

Book subscription service is relatively an unknown term for us. However, Gayatri Nair, through her initiative ‘Book-O-Box’ is aiming to make the service familiar here and inject the habit of reading back in people. In a candid interview with Cream Life, Gayatri opens up about her innovative venture and future plans.

April Box

What is ‘Book-O-Box’ all about? How it works?

Book-O-Box is a book subscription service that delivers curated monthly reads to the subscribers. Keeping in mind the varied interests of the readers, we have put together different genres for the readers to choose from. The objective is to provide interesting/offbeat works of fiction from around the world. Each month the book selected will be from a different country and are new releases. That way I hope to cover the literary scene in other parts of the world as well and not just what’s mainstream.

How it works is pretty simple. Choose the genre(s) you like, select the duration of subscription (1, 3 or 6 months) and then click subscribe. The boxes are shipped by the 15th of each month.

How did this idea originate?

Book subscriptions boxes are a popular concept in the West. Being a bibliophile, I used to dig that idea and follow these boxes on the social media and wished we had such varied options In India as well. During one such conversation with my husband, he encouraged me to start one myself, and I thought why not. Then few months were spend for research on packaging, designing and book curation. By the end of all those trials and experimentations, I finally launched Book-o-Box in March, 2017.

We live in a period where people are so reluctant to read. But still you started this venture. Do you think it actually can bring a change?

Yes, we live in a digital age where everything is available at the click of a finger. Life is so fast paced; most people don’t have the time to read. That’s why I believe this venture is more relevant now. It’s a convenient way of getting to read interesting books without lifting a finger. We are happy to do all the hard work here-researching, interacting with publishers and authors, visiting umpteen number of bookshops and libraries, scouring book blogs, bookstagrams, articles, talking to book experts and more to find the books that cannot be missed. All you have to do is take a little time of your day, sit down with a cup of coffee and dig into it.

Book subscription boxes are becoming popular within the readers community, so I do feel that it has the potential to help people read more.

How is the response from people? 

Subscription boxes and especially book subscription boxes are just taking root in the country, so initially many (outside of the bookstagram community) were clueless as to what the whole idea is about. Also, people tend to have fixed tastes and ideas about what they enjoy reading. Not everyone takes kindly to the idea of someone suggesting what to read or specifically to buying a book blindly. So it took little time for people to warm up to the idea, trust in the book selections and the quality of the box. The feedback I’m getting now is really great and it encourages me to better the product each month.

July Box

What all does the box contain? Do you take special care in making the box attractive to the subscribers?

The books are curated after a lot of research and recommendation from fellow bookstagrammers and publishers. After shortlisting the books, I personally read to ensure it’s a work I can recommend to my readers. Once the curation is done, I collaborate with independent artists to create custom artwork that reflect the theme of the box. For the other bookish goodies that go in the box, it’s designed in-house and I work with local craftsmen to get it ready. This is my small effort in supporting local talent and small businesses.

Only an ardent reader can start such a venture. Name the books and writers which influenced you.

Black beauty by Anna Sewell made me fall in love with books as a kid. Since then there was no turning back. JK Rowling, Umberto Eco, Kafka, Marquez, Milan Kundera, Haruki Murakami, Rupi Kaur, Chinua Achebe are a few of my favorites.

‘Book-O-Box’ is quite famous now. What all changes you plan to bring up for improving the experience of subscribers? 

I have no conventional training or background in business management. It’s been a learning experience so far and each month I hope to make it better than the last. Each item that goes into the box is carefully chosen and made with care. The quality of the box is in turn of reflection on my tastes, and that is something I would never compromise on.  Each month the customer base is growing, so in time I hope to expand my team, so as to provide a more seamless experience. Currently, there are only two genres available for subscription. I’m planning to introduce more genres so that readers will have more options to choose from.

The talented, spontaneous Sajna Najam

Award winning choreographer Sajna Najam reveals she was a reluctant performer! Her foray into the glam of cinema was accidental, she says. Although she loved to move to the beat of bollywood tunes, she wasn’t willing to learn from dance gurus. Hailing from a conventional background, she got married in her late teens and went to Saudi with her dreams of dancing packed away neatly.

But there’s no stopping pure talent! She began choreographing her little daughter’s school performances and continued to do so after relocating to Kerala. Eventually her graceful compositions were recognized; she started a dance school and became associated with several TV channels. Her movie stints came much later, beginning with Dulquer starrer Vikramadityan, for which she won the State Award. She continues to choreograph for movies, while also composing stage shows.

To the wonderfully talented women who bury their dreams after marriage, Sajna has a message: if you have dreams, pursue them no matter what; nothing should stand between you and your aspirations – once you start, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that appear before you!

When nature’s art adorns you

Rita Zolotukhina, a Ukrainian tattoo artist, is creating quite a buzz in the art world through her distinctive style. Rita, popularly known as “Rit Kit”, uses real flowers and leaves to design nature inspired tattoos. The technique, arising from her desire to get connected with nature, makes use of real leaves and flowers as stencils to create beautiful and authentic botanical imprint, what she calls ‘live leaf tattoo’.

The tattooing process involves two steps: first, the artist dips the flower or leaf in ink before placing it on the client’s body, which leaves an impression. In the next step, she traces the details with a needle using nature as her guide for coloring and shading.

It is impossible to sketch natural designs with printed photo stencil, according to Rita. However the 23-year old artist makes it possible through her craft; her creativity has made it possible to accurately depict nature on human body. Her style has been hailed as a unique way to preserve and reveal the true glory of nature.

Tracing ‘The Origin’: Where from, where to?

Continuing the saga of thrilling narratives and astounding revelations, Dan Brown’s latest novel The Origin will hit shelves in October. The details of the book were revealed by Dan Brown in his official website. The fifth in the Robert Langdon series, the story is set in Spanish cities Bilbao, Seville and Madrid. The book follows Brown’s usual elements of art, architecture, historic reinterpretation and cryptography.

Robert Langdon goes to the iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a billionaire inventor and interpreter and one of the earliest students of Langdon. He is about to reveal a breakthrough that will answer two fundamental questions of human existence. However, the meticulously planned evening descends into chaos and Langdon is forced to flee with Ambra Vidal, the museum director. Together they must break the code to Kirsch’s secret.

The thriller promises to combine history, religion and science with a fresh twist to address deep questions of human existence. More details of the novel are unavailable, including the cover. Doubleday will publish Brown’s latest book claimed to be his “most brilliant and entertaining novel till date”.

‘Ouija Board’ turns trendsetter in Amazon

Ouija Board by Akhil P Dharmajan (Book Cover)

Akhil P Dharmajan started writing at the age of 11 and today he has mounted as one of the best seller in Amazon for his book ‘Ouija Board’. The author used Facebook as a medium to showcase his creativity and to connect people to his novel. As a part of publishing his work online, the chapters of ‘Ouija Board’ took birth in a Facebook page named ‘Katha’ (Story), created by the author himself. Keeping the suspense high in every chapter, he gradually got immense response from the readers and by 2014, the page had more than 13000 followers. And with massive support from the readers, the online novel finally took print form as ‘Ouija Board’, a perfect blend of suspense, horror and thriller.

The book opens with a man who is a part of a channel in Canada visiting Alappuzha with an intention to write a story in connection with spirits, ghost as part of his new project. Soon he discovers that the house in which he is staying has a flashback story, which points to the death of 9 polytechnic students. Thus, the man begins writing the story featuring the mysterious death and uses Ouija Board as a medium to project the story.

Akhil P Dharmajan(Left) with Jude Anthany Joseph(Right)

Akhil P Dharmajan is a debut regional writer who made a place in top 10 best-selling horror novels in Amazon. The book was well accepted by the readers, in the grounds of which the novel is going to be made into a movie by Jude Anthany Joseph (‘Ohm Shanthi Oshaana’ fame). The young writer is currently working on his second novel ‘Mercury Island’ which is set to be published this year itself.

 

 

 

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