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What Lies Within?

I was introduced to Rabindranath Tagore while at school through his poem, “Where the Mind is Without Fear”. The poem made a lasting impression and has been a sort of anthem for me in many ways over the years.

While researching for a paper on Art Psychotherapy, I saw in Tagore’s writing nuances with Freud’s views on art, the self and creative expression, which kindled an interest to delve further. Tagore uses examples from nature and man’s relationship with nature to illustrate his views in much of his literary work. His campaigns further illuminate the change he desires to see in this relationship. His Santi Niketan (now a University town in India) is in itself a testament to how this relationship between man and nature is so intrinsic to learning and being. These and Tagore’s The Religion of Man have factored in the ideation of this piece of art I made.




The painting titled “What Lies Within”, acrylic on canvas, appears like a barren field. It is designed with a view to invite one to stop, take a closer look and ponder over what they see.

Many things have gone into the making of this piece, many of which lies within and cannot even be seen. Some are buried under the layers, some are colourless, but their presence is felt. Shavings of charcoal and gold/copper paint represent resources which the earth offers. The shades of yellow ochre and brown, applied texturally suggest a feeling of the earth as a canvas on which man leaves his mark.

“The leather binding and the title-page are parts of the book itself; and the world that we perceive through our senses and mind and life’s experiences is profoundly one with ourselves”.

Rabindranath Tagore

It is hoped that this art spurs us to consciously question our relationship with others and the earth. A deep reflection and an exploration of our self, with another, could perhaps reveal a better understanding of our own distinctness, the innate potential we have and who we are past all that lies deep within us.

July 2020

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