Garuda (2014), 4 x 4 ft, acrylic on canvas & some airbrush
In this painting I represent a very important figure from Hindu belief, the bird God Garuda. Garuda is considered to be the king of birds. I continued my obsession with painting birds in full flow in this artwork.
Garuda is a well-known symbol and emblem in many countries, including in Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Thailand. As far away as Suriname there is radio and television station after Garuda.
The ribbon in Garuda’s beak represents the fear that knots people emotionally into a tangled ball and stops them from achieving their full potential.
Normally, in India, he is depicted in white, but the glow of a trial of fire colours my Garuda. His glowing colours are emblematic of his role as the loyal saviour and defeater of enemies. Here, Garuda rises up flying high, as high as he wants to be, a positive entity that infuses courage. On his head he carries some small birds, these are the weak ones that need to be lifted up. Those that want to be strong, like Garuda, but do not possess strong wings!
This painting thus represents one of my strongest beliefs. That is, if we are so lucky as to be mentally and physically as well as financially strong, it is our duty to encourage and care for those who are not as fortunate as we. I try to practice this belief of supporting the less fortunate to the fullest in my life and will continue to do this as long as possible into my wise old age.
This painting was very tedious to make because the details of the feathers are each painted with single lifting strokes to add to the feeling of flight. Please notice the strong use of shadows that define each and every feather. This emphasises flexibility and lifts curves of individual feathers as the bird flies to lift itself high.
My mother, who is a tapestry weaver, really liked this painting. She made a beautiful tapestry based on it that is just the same size as the original. It is included here.