HARIMANDIR KHALSA

(Pronounced Har-e-mon-dur Call-sa)

FINE ART STATEMENT

There may be beauty in my paintings but little that is pretty. The animals and figures in my work may appear as passive participants in the stories playing out behind and around them, but as the man-made replaces the natural and the non-human replaces the human, their gaze invites you into the protests lurking just below the surface. These are story traces left on the environment that owe their meaning mostly to the response of the viewer. There are messages- some unsettling, some familiar, some not, both humorous and serious – crying out to be decoded. They point visually to many things without surrendering the advantage of being able to talk about them. There are images and layers of images, both past and present: fragments of things that were, dug out from under things that are.

ARTIST STATEMENT FOR ALL TIME

Nearly everything I experience and know of suggests an accumulation of layers:

The physical body with its layers of soft and hard tissue;

Emotions and the many layers of experience, memory and habit that produce them;

Layers of false beliefs that block us from great truths;

The earth itself, our Great Mother- a biosphere composed of layers of hard and soft matter infused with and covered with layers of teeming life enveloped in layers of atmosphere;

We unearth clues about the past from under layers of ice, rock, sand and soil; the ruins of an ancient city carefully dig up to find another city beneath it.

There are cave drawings and petroglyphs all over the world; layers of images that now serve as illustrations for the stories we have made up about them and the people who made them.

Religion, culture, history, mythology, ritual- layers and layers of content theorized and interpreted, evolving and devolving, taking on layers of significance or insignificance, clarity or distortion as time passes.

There is the work of the tides and the sands of time changing and rearranging the material world- adding here, taking away there; burying, exposing, washing away, washing up…

Some layers we don’t want to examine too closely: the lies upon which so-called “truths” might be based, the use of violence to stop violence to stop violence to stop violence, the lies that perpetuate our separation from our essential self and from others, the destructive bureaucratic dominion over all life, and finally the stories we call history compared to what really happened…

Some layers we love: the layers of nacre we call a pearl, the feathers of a beautiful bird, the petals of a beautiful flower, harmonious layers of sound we call music, and the teachings of iconic beings who, century after century remind us of what we keep forgetting – that kindness is the true spirituality.

This and my own life-history is what my paintings are about.