Tuesday, December 30, 2014

leave a mark

Thought behind the thought:
Weddings in India mean back to back events which normally are opportunities to eat, drink, be merry, deck up and revel. The grand start to the festivities happens with the Mehendi night. The bride and all the women in the family (and in some cultures the men too) apply henna on the hands as a mark of auspicious beginnings. Henna marks its presence on the brides hands and quietly submits itself into the background. With every passing day, as the henna on the hands slowly fades, the bride wistfully realises that her days of abandon too are fading with it and a new life awaits her where she will be responsible for people around her. Henna does not aspire to be remembered forever. She just want to leave behind a memory that is a happy reminder .

About the art:

Mehendi or Henna is one art form that explores all the classical elements of design. If one decides to study all the styles and motifs an exhaustive research would emerge. An art form that dates back 3000 years, it has found its roots in African, Arabian, Pakistani and Indian cultures. Different countries have adapted and added their own elements to the application of henna. A brief study of how different design elements are used in this art form: 

Points: Dots or points are effectively used as points of focus or fillers. Dots can vary in size and scale making them prominent or giving the design a fragile delicate appeal.

Lines: Lines are explored in every imaginable type. Thick, thin, wavy, zigzag, alternating, dashed, crossed and many more line types are used to create wonderful patterns and motifs.

Gradation: Line gradation and colour gradation are two techniques that are used to create contrast and add interest to the design. One has to predict how the dyed pattern will emerge and pre-plan the gradation in order to achieve fabulous results.

Patterns: One of the most fascinating elements of mehendi designs are the number of patterns that have come about. There are scores and scores of designs and everyday new additions are being made from influences from allied art.

Fill: Indian style of Mehendi usually is filled with no empty space or solid fills are also very common. Nails too are dyed solid which is essentially done to add colour to the nail and keep it moisturised as well.

Negative and Positive space: Arabic style of Mehendi is usually sparse with some amount of vacant spaces left to make the design more impactful.

Symmetry: This is an element that needs precision and years of practice. Some unbelievable symmetries can be achieved by mirroring patterns on both the hands.

Abstraction & Symbolism: Lot of animals, birds, natural objects are integrated in the designs by abstracting them. The usually have a symbolism connected to them. As this art dates back many centuries it is evident how artists were influences by nature and how they have tried to use these inspirations in making innovative designs.
Some symbols from different cultures:

Peacock – stands for beauty
Swan – stands for success
Bird – stands for messengers (between heaven and earth)
Butterfly – stands for transformation
Parrot – stands for messengers of love
Dragonfly – stands for rebirth
Fish – stands for woman’s eyes
Scorpion – stands for love and romance
Flower – stands for joy and happiness
Vines and leaves – stand for longevity, devotion, perseverance, entwined lives and vitality
Snake – stands for seekers of enlightenment
Tortoise – stands for protection and fertility
Lotus Blossom – stands for grace, beauty, creativity, sensuality, femininity and purity
Sun, Moon and Stars – stand for deep and lasting love between lovers/partners
Paisleys – stands for fertility and good luck
Bud – stands for new beginning after marriage and a new life
Zigzag – stands for rain
Ripples – stands for running water, which purifies and brings life
Square – stands for magical, used to heal and protect the sick


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