Debarchan Rout: Clouds of Witness

Debarchan Rout

Clouds of Witness

Pen and Ink on Paper

8 works of 6×7” / 15 x 18 cms each


Artist’s Statement: The most significant element of the monsoon is the cloud. Kalidas’ Meghadutam (Cloud Messenger) captures the ethos of the season; and here, the cloud is the prime witness of the separation (viraha) by of the hero (Yaksha) from his wife (Yakshi).

The Chitrasutra, a classical treatise on art, provides valuable suggestions to depict the monsoon pictorially: overcast sky, clouds weighed down with water, flashes of lightning, rainbows, animals taking shelter, white canes flying in rows…

Similar visual iconography is to be found in miniature paintings and Ragamala images, where clouds play a key role.

In this work too, I imagine the cloud as a prime witness of the Monsoon or the Chaumasa. The intent is to depict the Viraha (separation) that is classically a part of the Chaumasa experience; but also poignantly infused into current contemporary circumstances in varying ways. The narrative of the classical epic, and classical imagery is hence playfully amalgamated with hints at the contemporary situation in this narrative series of works.

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