Sohan Qadri …The emancipation of the Image

First the Void

Second the Seed

Third the Emancipation of the Image

Forth the articulation of the Syllable

Fifth the Fullness of the Void

Hevajara Tantra

Sohan Qadri
Artwork by Sohan Qadri

Where East meets West and the thresholds between cultures bring together a unifying of the inner concerns of the soul and transcendence embodied in the material form there is the potential for dynamic creativity that transpires the conventions of western philosophy and thought in a lightness of inspiration. The work of Sohan Qadri tapped this fertile ground in artworks that arose through deep meditation and are vibrant with the essence and warmth of his Indian origins. Qadri’s work developed over a long creative career that lasted from 1932 to 2011 during which time he was well known by many of the influential artists in the West including the Surrealist painter René Magritte, Nobel laureate Heinrich Böll, and architect Le Corbusier. His work, recently featured in Resurgence illustrating articles on the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore,  resonates deeply with Tagore’s verses and prose resonating with the poet’s vibrations of universal harmony, wholeness and integrity in colour, texture and “lustrous bubbles of energy.”

Purusha VI, 2008, Ink and dye on paper

Purusha VI, 2008, Ink and dye on paper by Sohan Qadri

Sohan Qadri with his painting liberates the word meditation from its fashionable taste and brings it back to its proper origin, uninfluenced by Western propaganda, misunderstandings and corruptions. – Heinrich Böll (Nobelprize lit. 1972, Köln)

Sohan Qadri

Oil on Canvas by Sohan Qadri

Sohan Qadri can be described as a Tantric painter – a modern Tantric painter to be sure. Born in 1932 in Punjab, India, Qadri began his quest for his true self through Tantric yoga and spent long periods of time silently meditating in remote temples in the Himalayas and Tibet. His isolation propelled his urge to paint. He received his MFA in 1960 from the Government College of Art in Simla, India, but soon discovered that academic trappings were not for him. Shortly after his first exhibition in 1965, he left India for the West. In Qadri’s work, there is a tranquil coexistence of binary opposites – male and female, known and unknown, physical and spiritual. Although he clearly has Western influences, such as Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still, his work is uniquely Eastern. Heinrich Boll, the 1972 Nobel Prize winner in Literature, has said that Qadri, “with his painting liberates the word meditation from its fashionable taste and brings it back to its proper origin uninfluenced by Western propaganda, misunderstandings and corruptions.” His paintings are monochrome surfaces with structural effects that, in their repetition, convey the rhythmic expressions of color energies. The vibrations created by these energies are endless and break the boundaries between the inner space of the image and the external space of the viewer. In their pulsations, the colors allow for a meditation in which those who experience space seek to become space itself. As Qadri has said, “The narrowness of space has posed as a great problem to me. Phenomenal life can hardly be lived within a few known dimensions.” Qadri’s work has to be experienced; the viewer must surrender to the work. In front of his work, the viewer is confronted with the silence within himself. The work does not direct; one must direct oneself. This intuitive experience speaks all languages and knows no formal boundaries. Suneet Chopra summed it up by saying, “With its dispersion of and concentration of energy, it far excels expressionist abstractions whose aggression is their main force of attraction.”

Text quoted from the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Amala IV, 2008, Ink and dye on paper

Amala IV, 2008, Ink and dye on paper, by Sohan Qadri

“I did not want to confine myself to one place, nation or community. My approach to life has been universal, and so is my art.”

Sohan Qadri

Puskara II, 2008, Ink and dye on paper

Puskara II, 2008, Ink and dye on paper by Sohan Qadri

Sohan Qadri is represented by the Sundaram Tagore Gallery …for more information and to view his work please visit the gallery website here.

Sohan Qadri’s own website with information about the artist and a comprehensive gallery of his works here.

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Angelika and Paramjyoti in concert

Angelika sings and Devadasi swirls

Angelika sings and Paramjyoti swirls

On the 16th of June 2011 a significant cultural event took place sponsored by the Academy of Art, Creativity and Consciousness of Ananda Assisi, a performance of sacred music accompanied by sacred dance. The two inspirational German artists Angelika and Paramjyota created a magical atmosphere inside the “Temple of Light”, the temple of the Ananda community, in front of an enthusiastic audience. Angelika, singer and songwriter, travels throughout the world sharing her healing music, sang bhajans and other chants of which words were mantras from Hindu, Buddhist and Christian traditions. During the evening she sang some of her own songs both in German and in English. Her voice is pure and touches profoundly the hearts of all; the public were so enchanted by Angelika’s music and voice, that many thanked her personally at the end of the concert.

Angelika in Concert

During the performance, another German artist, Paramjyoti Devadasi, a well-known sacred dancer, accompanied Angelika’s music with her dance which she calls ‘Dance of the Heart’.  It’s a combination between modern dance and the old traditional Sufi dance performed by the whirling Dervishes. The two artists, who have never performed together until now and met only the day of the event, were in complete synchrony with each other and created a magical atmosphere of total purity and divine holiness. Everyone was touched, inspired and the sensibilities of the performances lifted hearts and  consciousness.

Devadasi & Angelika performing at Ananda Assisi.

The two artists also performed on the 18th of June in San Biagio, a small comunity with a Wellness Center, not far away from Ananda, in an old monastery. The place is sacred itself and the two artists once again gave an unforgettable performance of pure sacred art, coming directly from the heart. The audience was once again profoundly touched by Angelika and Paramjyoti, by their unique way of performing, by their total devotion and simplicity. Angelika also involved the public in their music, asking them to sing along with her, which the people extremly enjoyed. In this way the typical scenario of having an artist separated by the public that gives a performance to be listened to by a passive audience was disssolved. Every one sang with Angelika and became a participating artist themselves. At a certain point, the singer asked the public to stand up and do some specific actions during one song ( embracing each other) and sing at the same time. This created a sense of intimacy throughout the audience. Paramjyoti performed beautiful swirls during Angelika’s chanting and brought a divine elegance to the whole atmosphere. Here below you can see a picture which shows Angelika in the foreground singing and Paramjyoti whirling in the background.

Devadasi dancing on Angelika's music

Devadasi dancing on Angelika's music

The concert ended in a peaceful, pure and meditative atmosphere and the audience was without words. The people were touched and uplifted and it was dificult to leave the place because of the divine energy which had been created in that monastery.

Angela finishing the song and Paramjyoti in Namaste

Angelika finishing the song and Paramjyoti in Namaste

You can share a piece of the nights ethereal magic by watching the video of ‘Dance of the Heart’ below.

The Academy of Art, Creativity and Consciousness of Ananda Assisi aims to facilitate transforming change through creativity and promoting inspirational art in bringing creative joy to life.

Text © Mihai Huber and Academy of Art, Creativity and Consciousness

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Mandala: The Sacred Art of Centering Your Self

Don’t miss this amazing workshop!

Mandala: the Sacred Art of Centering Your Self

Where: Academy of Art, Creativity and Consciousness, Ananda, Assissi Italy.

When: 3-8 July 2011

Mandala is a Sanskrit  word that means “circle”, signifying the primordial shape that represents wholeness, completeness and unity. In many cultures, and throughout time, the Mandala has been used as a template for sacred art because it represents the centering of the self in alignment with the cosmos. Carl Jung used the Mandala as a powerful therapeutic tool, a way of accessing more profound levels of our being. In this week we will explore many varieties of this sacred form, including principles of sacred geometry, the Yantra and the labyrinth. In hands on creative play, each participant will be guided in a process of inwardly centering deep within themselves, while outwardly creating their own unique Mandala. We will also together create a meditative labyrinth, using the template from the Chartres cathedral.

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Song of the Shaman by Milo Thelwall

I’m going to sing you a song

 Sing it in your bones


Sing you a song

Sing it forever


This song comes from a long, long time

In the past


In the future

This song is called Life


Sing it forever

Sing it into your bones


Milo Thelwall is a talented Irish violinist and dancer. He believes that music can free and move feelings. It can release us from our delusions. Dance and play music until you an see through yourself.

This poem by Thelwall is the opening work to the recently published compilation of art and poetry The Eye of Temenos: Reflections on Sacred Space compiled and edited by Bob Beagrie and Andy Willoughby. To purchase the book or find out more information contact Ek Zuban

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Satish Kumar … Art for Earth’s Sake

The Awakening Arts Network Promotes the paradigm shift from an art of commerce and capital to forms of making that nurture the nature of our humanity and connect both the maker and the audience to the many worlds through which the human being emerges into new be comings daily.

Satish Kumar echoes these statements in this recent article entitled ‘Art for Earth’s Sake’.

In our times of eco-spiritual crisis, Satish Kumar proposes a shift from unsustainable mass consumerism to mass production of life-sustaining art

The dominant thinking in Western society is that of separation: the separation of mind from matter, science from spirituality, art from daily life. From the Renaissance onwards, artists worked as individuals, in their studios, in isolation from other artisans, separating themselves from their fellow craftsmen and women.  They practised art as a way of self-expression.  Their art produced mostly items of luxury and status.  Thus art became disconnected from the natural world, from living communities and from life itself. There art stayed, for centuries, something apart – to be practised only by those with special talent, to be purchased only by those with great wealth and seen mostly within the four walls of churches, museums and art galleries. For the past 500 years, art has become an item of consumption; a commodity to be bought and sold: no longer a way of life, practised by everyone as an everyday activity.



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John August Swanson … There is a season

Washing of the Feet by John August Swanson

 Today the Awakening Arts Network is pleased to present to you the rich warm tapestries of colour by John August Swanson that vibrate with paint and form representing biblical and religious themes in a mosaic of decorative light. His paintings follow the great traditions of religious and spiritual art bringing together compositions that resonate with arrangements from the northern Renaissance in an iconic sensibility  of traditional storytelling emanating from Swanson‘s heritage into narratives that mine our cultural values, inherent humanity and the artist’s quest for  Self through visual making and the inspirational image.

Presentation by John August Swanson

Presentation by John August Swanson

I came across the work of John August Swanson only this morning when an email from the Frequencies Project brought him to my attention. Although well established in the United States where he was born in 1938 his name is not so well known in Europe and the UK although his work is represented in collections in the Tate London, the V and A London and also in Paris.

The Flight into Egypt by John August Swanson

His work is illustrative recalling arrangements and stylistic qualities of the fairytale illustrations of Arthur Rackham and the artworks of Aubrey Beardsley and Samuel Palmer. The above work ‘The Flight into Egypt’ brings to mind the folk sensibilities of Marc Chagall and elements from their ancestry and grounding in folk traditions; Chagall the Russian and Jewish Heritage and Swanson, his parents Mexican and Swedish roots.

See more of John August Swanson’s work at his website.

Artworks © John August Swanson

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The World Culture Festival in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of The Art of Living.

World Culture festival

The summer is the time of the festival whether it is the music festivals of the UK that are known throughout the world such as Glastonbury or the Isle of Wright with the biggest pop and rock artists headlining or Burning Man in the Nevada Desert. Many of the summer festivals began as community building spaces where culture and creativity flowed freely but have evolved into money spinning commercial events asking high face value ticket prices and many ways to generate wealth for the producers and organisations behind them. This year we see a new festival in the line up …. a significant mission to proclaim global harmony, peace and joy. The World Culture Festival,  in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of The International Art of Living Foundation brings together many performers from the global arts and culture world promoting diversity and life enriching creativity.

“In a unique celebration of harmony in diversity the World Culture Festival will bring together 70,000 participants from 151 countries who will take home unique sights, sounds, tastes and the mesmerising variety of all the world continents in one place!

The World Continents Pavilions beautifully situated in the green fields around the stadium will showcase the world continents cultural heritage by allowing participants to experience the typical food, dance, literature and music of Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas.

The World Continents Pavilions will also host the 5th International Women’s Conference, The World Youth Conference and The Living Human Values Conference.

Senior governmental representatives, business leaders, academia, leaders of NGOs, religious and spiritual leaders, peacemakers and renowned personalities from across the globe will exchange their views and spread the message of peace, unity and harmony in diversity.

The World Culture Festival will furthermore share the vast cultural heritage of India, the source of yoga, not only by showcasing the benefits of yoga, but also by sharing the beauty and depth of the music, dance and the cuisine of India. Up to 5000 guests, including artists and distinguished delegates from public and private sector, are expected to travel from India to Berlin.

The Yoga Park will allow participants to experience the powerful impact of Yoga as a way to improve physical and mental health as well as to create inner peace. Yoga experts of all different traditions will share their expertise in conferences and workshops. A unique Yoga Museum will chart the evolution of Yoga from ancient sages to its global application in the 21st century. The Yoga Park will also illustrate the societal impact of Yoga in peace building and therefore its application in humanitarian projects around the world.

Leading dance and music troops from around the globe will mesmerize the audience with dazzling performances. The Grand finale will see an unparalleled concert with 30 pianos and 2000 guitars as well as a Peace Meditation.”

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar talks about the celebration of 30 years of the Art of Living Foundation

“30 years of the Art of Living: A big milestone with many achievements, inspiring us to move forward with greater speed and greater enthusiasm. The dream to make life a celebration and the world a family has materialized and become a reality.

Millions of volunteers who have worked with such enthusiasm and love will continue to inspire millions more, reach out to all those areas where we have not reached and wipe all those tears that are yet there.

The 30th anniversary is a celebration of achievement and a vision to do more service..”

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The World Culture Festival will be a pivotal event in bridging culture and cultures and uniting humanity in global awakening nurtured through the arts. Performers, dancers and musicians from across the planet will include The Idan Raichel Project (Israel), Elitsa Todorova (Bulgaria), Ira Losco (Malta) and a 30 piano concert among many other amazing acts.

For more information and to buy tickets please visit the World Culture Festival website

Text quoted with thanks from the World Culture Festival Website and the Art of Living.

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