Towards Ananda: Rethinking Indian Art and Aesthetics

Towards Ananda: Rethinking Indian Art and Aesthetics

Product ID: 18043

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Author: Shakti Maira
Publisher: Penguin/Viking
Year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 289
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670058645


Anyone who knows India is aware of its sophisticated aesthetic philosophy and equally rich history of making everyday things beautiful. Yet, most Indians, and travellers to India, are familiar with the great contrast that exists between its ingrained beauty and contemporary ugliness. Towards Ananda examines the many reasons for this paradox, with particular focus on the visual arts.

Unlike most books on Indian art and aesthetics which emphasize the 'glorious past' of the classical traditions, this one is centred on the present and the future--on contemporary art and its place in the emerging global art world. The author explores ancient theories of aesthetics in the light of contemporary challenges, and journeys across the country to distil the complex forces which have shaped Indian aesthetics. He also gives us an overview of western ideologies and art movements, and their conflict with eastern perspectives.

In the course of the narrative, the author illustrates the application of the aesthetic values of balance, rhythm, harmony and proportionality in art--as also in economics, development strategies, health education, city planning, architecture and product design. Though the primary focus is India, the issues discussed, of purpose and practice, content and context, market forces and institutions, extend to all societies that are becoming homogenized by globalization.

It is rare to have an opportunity to see both Indian and international art and aesthetics through the contemporary mind and experiences of a thinking and articulate artist.
-From the Foreword by Kapila Vatsyayan

It is a great book: provocative, controversial and challenging. I hope everyone interested in Indian art will read it.
-Satish Kumar, Editor, Resurgence

To integrate spirit and matter in an aesthetic presentation that opens the viewer to an integral moment is remarkable enough. But what is truly astonishing about Shakti’s work is the depth to which that intention is realized. Shakti is the finest integral artist now working in the fields of painting and sculpture.
-Ken Wilber, author of The Eye of Spirit and A Theory of Everything

Maira sees the central purpose of art as a precious means of transcendence. This prophetic view will probably outlast the iconoclasm and faddism that defines art and aesthetics in contemporary India.
-Anjalio Ela Menon, artist



1. Introduction: intentions and domains.

2. Identity and influences.

3. Practice and punditry.

4. Temples and tangents.

5. City cultures and shoptalk.

6. Expectations and education.

7. Integration and imagined directions.

8. End piece: making spiritual art.