Kerala-based artist Thaj Backer says his experiments with Arabic ink helped him overcome a artistic slowdown
On one among his strolls round his hometown Ponnani, artist Thaj Backer found one thing that ignited his curiosity: a vendor who bought Arabic ink to the madrassas within the locality. The ink, he discovered, was used within the ceremonial initiation of a kid into the world of letters. Intrigued, Thaj started to be taught extra about it.
Obtainable solely in a couple of outlets promoting the Quran within the space, this pure ink is made utilizing burnt rice and tree gum (as a binder) and is powdered. “I consider there’s a sure honour in working with native assets and this ink was a discovery,” says Thaj, who wasted no time in shopping for it.
“The powdered ink is normally blended with both boiled and cooled water or rose water. The combination is then poured into a bit of muslin, tied and hung up in order that the pure ink is collected,” he says. It’s jet black and flows simply on paper, Thaj provides.
He has been felicitously utilizing the Arabic ink for the drawings he has been doing as a part of Inktober, a month-long world artwork problem, which has artists showcasing their inking abilities. Taking part artists are anticipated to submit one drawing a day by the month, based mostly on the theme offered.
The themes are random — ‘crow’, ‘hope’, ‘lure’ and ‘coral’ for instance. Thaj says the sequence helped him overcome a artistic block he had been experiencing ever for the reason that pandemic broke out.
“This has been an particularly taxing interval for artists who derive inspiration from human interactions and journey. For me, artwork will not be a solitary exercise. I derive a variety of power from folks for my work,” he says. “I’m the sort of one that takes off on a prepare journey and not using a explicit vacation spot in thoughts after I really feel pressured. It’s stifling not having the ability to try this.”
Thaj can also be a performing artist. For the previous 10 years has explored mediums that embody theatre, portray, sculpture and designing.
He was a part of ABC (Artwork by Kids), a programme initiated by the Kochi Muziris Biennale Basis to run research-driven artwork interventions for kids and artwork educators to assist them attain their artistic potential.
Thaj is presently engaged on a sequence that explores the nuances of romance, the physique and nudity. Titled Udalukalude Unmaadam, (Ecstasy of the Physique), it has over 60 works finished in charcoal on paper.
Thaj shall be a part of a digital residency organised by Home Conspiracy, an arts organisation based mostly in Australia. He may also be showcasing his work in a web-based group present, For the Kisans.
The works finished for Inktober shall be documented as a private assortment and may be considered at @Thajbackerofficial on Instagram.