COLLABORATIVE ART PROJECT
Vidya Shyamsundar, painter & Jennifer Domal, pysankarka
two artists;two continents;two media
One vision to create one story, weaving the tales told by people with images, without words
Mixed Media on hardboard panel
Acrylic on panel board; beeswax resist and dye on eggshell (pysanka)
6 inches x 6 inches
The artwork is original and signed by the artists Vidya Shyamsundar & Jennifer Domal. The painting is varnished for protection, wired, and ready to hang and comes with a sleek custom black floater frame that is 1.5 inches deep. The information about the artwork is labeled on the reverse.
Please email Vidya Shyamsundar at if you are interested in purchasing one or more of these beauties!
Behold the Beauty of Tradition #1,#2, #3
The background paintings represent the beauty and intricate workmanship of traditional Indian Kanchipuram and handloom cotton Saris*.
The pysanky are heritage designs that were written as talismans; to protect family and home, farm and animals. The designs were believed to hold magic and date to Neolithic peoples.
#1, #3: Blue, Green
Hand woven cotton drives India’s textile industry. Vidya shows her deep respect for the hard work and craftsmanship for the people of rural India who get so little for their skills and make her proud of her home.
The pysanky chosen to represent a talisman for Good Harvest (#1) and Healthy Bees (#3). The pysanka for the harvest would have been crushed in the first furrow to bless the field. The second would be placed under the entrance to the hive to help the bees remember the way home.
Kanchipuram is a high quality, hand woven silk made in the Kanchipuram region of Tamilnadu, India, dating to the 17th century. Indian women treasure Kanchipuram silk for its grandeur, durability, sheen, and quality. The saris are expensive and the mark of a South Indian wedding, the equivalent of owning a piece of 24K gold!
It is paired with a pysanka from Jennifer’s collection with a windmill design. It is a solar symbol showing the sun gold traveling across the sky. Red and black give protection to the household.
*Sari/Saree: a fabric that is five yards long and four feet wide, wrapped around the waist with one end draped over the shoulder and baring the midriff.
Earth, Water, Air
Earth in Sanskrit is prithvi. All Plants, vegetables and fruits spring from the Earth. In Hindu philosophy there is the eternal Earth, which exists in the form of the atom, and perishable Earth, which exists in the form of work. We, symbolically, are perishable. But elements (atoms) are eternal after death. After burial or cremation, atoms are disintegrated and returned to the eternal form.
Water in Sanskrit is jal. The blood that runs through the human body is mostly water, just as the earth is primarily bodies of water. Hindu philosophy states that water is eternal and perishable, like Earth.
Air in Sanskrit is prana, meaning “breath” or “life force”. Likely familiar for yoga devotees! Hindu philosophy states that air is the most essential link to human life. The prana is the invisible bio-energy that maintains health.
The ancient tradition of writing pysanky also has the Trinity of Earth, Water and Air. Triangles are featured prominently in designs that have no known author to contemporary styles. The Trinity of Birth/Life/Death and Earth/Water/Air share equal prominence. After Christianity, swept Europe, the Christian Trinity of Father/Son/Holy Spirit held sway.
Ruzha is the name of a mallow, a type of flower in Poland and Ukraine. This symbol is similar to the flower although the symbol itself is solar in nature, representing stars.
Spirit of Life #1, #2, #3
Vidya Shyamsundar: My perspective on “Spirit of Life” is about cherishing the essence of core traditional family values that I learned from my parents and grandparents and making sure that I try to imbibe those principles onto my children. That is, caring and treating one another with respect; creating an atmosphere to openly communicate one’s thoughts and feelings; and learn to be grateful and appreciative of each other’s hard work and contribution to the family.
Jennifer Domal: Writing pysanky is something I have done my entire life. I have gotten the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. And what I have learned is that we are more the same than we are different. We have one vision, one story. It is told in different ways; some use animals, some use gods, some have desert and fire, some have ice and lightning. But the people tell the same story over and over again through their art and textiles: bless this house, protect my family, feed my village, trap the evil forever! I am forever grateful that my parents took the time to teach a little girl how to use hot wax on a real egg. I am also grateful I learned from my family that everyone has a story to share. My heart is filled that Vidya asked me to do this project. I have grown as a person and as an artist (a well-used sentence, I know, but it is true).