26 February 2015 by Lowenna Waters
At the end of January, Wexas Travel teamed up with British Airways and Creative Travel to bring the event RASA: Essence of India to the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington, London.
The event - held January 22nd - featured an exhibition of the artwork of Natasha Kumar and Paul Vanstone, lectures by the artists on their works, and a raffle. Both artists' work has been heavily inspired by India, and draw upon a classical training that informs their contemporary practices.
The event followed an exhibition of the same name by Natasha Kumar at the Southbank Centre that ran for five months in 2014. For her, the RASA story began ten years ago, when she first began sketching the cchatri, an essential element of Rajasthan architecture that's often ornate, intricately carved, with a dome and eves that combine Hindu and Mughal design.
The concentric circles of this architecture became a central motif in her work, and are reflected in the brightly coloured works on paper that were displayed in the show. The RASA series features the concentric circles of the architecture, condensed into abstract circles, repetitive shapes and strings of stylized men and women dancing in circles, their saris flowing in a soft breeze.
The works on paper were complemented by Paul Vanstone's substantial, tactile and stocky sculptures hewn from marble. After studying in Italy, he travelled to Rajasthan to learn traditional Indian marble carving techniques.
The human form inspires his works, which features faces, figures and torsos carved in a style reminiscent of the sculptures of Henry Moore. He often uses exotic marbles in his work, from rich green Indian Rainforest Marble to desert sand red Iranian Onyx.
After lectures by both artists in the Ondaatje Theatre, guests were invited to move to the Map Room for a raffle with prizes including return British Airways flights to India, and an original Natasha Kumar artwork. Guests Caroline Murray and David Russell won prizes respectively.