Art Imitates Life- Or does it?

Yesterday’s WPC theme- ‘Life Imitates Art’ got me thinking. I remembered that it has already been a year since I visited Cochi for the Kochi Muziris Biennale– India’s leading art event in a beautiful setting.

I remembered seeing there a series of photographs that had piqued my interest. Titled “The Arrival of Vasco da Gama” these photographs were a take on an artistic potrayal of a historic event. (For those of you who may not know Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese explorer who was the first European to sail all around the African continent to reach India directly without going through the Meditteranean).

In 1498 Vasco da Gama arrived at the Court of the Zamorin (the local ruler) in Calicut (now Kozhikode, Kerala). 400 years after this incident a Portugese painter Jose Salgado painted a narrative of this incident.

Arrival of Vasco da Gama by Salgado (this siteย has more detailed notes on the actual historical interaction, also the source of this painting- not my photograph)

This painting is narrated from the perspective of the European- the visitor- da Gama is the focal point of attention. All the other members of the court including the king are rapt with attention. In reality, accounts relate that the gifts brought by Vasco da Gama were so meagre that they failed to impress the Zamorin which ultimately caused friction between the two.

So if a tale can be spun around in one way it can be spun around in another way too. And this is what the artist sculptor Pushpamala had attempted with her “Arrival of Vasco da Gama”. In this series of photographs it is actually Pushpamala herself who has masqueraded as a European man for the photographs. The other members of court are her friends.

Pushpamala as Vasco da Gama

I really found the photograph sans costumes to be the most intriguing of the collection.

Without Costumes- Apologies for the bad photo

So what do you think? Does life imitate art or is it the other way around or is it neither?



14 Comments Add yours

  1. Christine says:

    Lovely piece ๐Ÿ™‚

    I believe art imitates life as it is a representation of different facets of life and it is also dependent on the artist as you said in this post ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thanks Christine- that’s ultimately true. All art is inspired by something the artist has faced in life. Thanks for visiting!

      1. Christine says:

        Anytime ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoy every post you put up ๐Ÿ˜„

      2. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

        Thank you so much!

  2. Good question! I shall ponder it this fine Sunday…

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Sometimes there are no answers ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. neihtn2012 says:

    Very interesting. In this case art imitates life, I think.

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      I think so too, but in some cases it goes a full circle and life imitates art or at least keeps up pretenses to fulfill a certain condition imposed by art.

  4. Lav says:

    Art imitates life imitates art!
    I love the photo of the same scene without costumes..

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Yeah it was quite interesting!

  5. Nirmala says:

    I love the photos,original art and imitations!

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Me too!

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      I guess it’s certainly both!

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