‘Art is giving a material body to memories, imagination and angst’

Dialogue series organized by the Raza Foundation discusses Origin of Art


New Delhi, June 19: The urge to provide a material existence to “bodyless” things such as memories,  imagination, experiences and angst is the basis of all creative expression, artists and thinkers said at a wide-ranging discussion on the ‘Origin of Art’ organized under the aegis of the Raza Foundation.


At an open Art Dialogue organized in collaboration with the Civil Services Officers' Institute here on Sunday evening, an aesthetic thinker, a practicing painter and a poet shared their thoughts on the founts of creativity as experienced and observed by them.


Prof. Navjyoti Singh is a scientist-philosopher and founder head of the Center for Exact Humanities, said what people experience in actions and deeds are transient, but the impressions of it in their subconscious is permanent. “The memory translates into imagination, then to resolution or desire and finally to creativity. Art is the process of telling the truth in a form that is removed from reality,” he said.


He spoke of the myths and legends the world over, that depict this process; the story of Nagnajit who was brought back to life by lord Yama of the netherworld through a painting signifying the origin of ‘Chitravidya’ in India; Greek philosopher Pliny’s recounting of the tale of Kora of Sicyon on the origins of modeling in relief; and the legend of Narcissus whose tragic angst has been celebrated by artists through centuries.


Poet and film writer Udayan Vajpeyi noted the dualist nature of humans that triggers creativity.

“There is a biological birth and there is birth in memory where people are ‘Nagna’ or ‘bodyless’.

Art is giving a form to this bodyless existence. All forms of art, be it poetry, sculpture or painting or theatre arise from people giving a shape to their own understanding of the human condition.”


Renowned artist Paramjit Singh noted that people’s background and childhood experiences impact their creativity in a very significant way. “These things sit in your subconscious and impact your artistic language and technique. The essence of what you see remains in your memory. Your art originates because you are able to recreate it,” he said.


Art Dialogues is a new monthly series introduced by the Raza Foundation, featuring expert practitioners from the world of ideas, literature, visual arts, performing arts and various other disciplines. Sunday’s discussion was the third in the series. The first and the second were titled ‘Gandhi in Our Times’ & ' Novelty in Performing Arts'.


The Raza Foundation, set by the late artist S H Raza, provides support and platforms for various arts, publications and fellowships, especially aimed at young talent.




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