The Natural and Supernatural

Growing up in a scientific and deeply religious family, the two belief systems have always fascinated me. Over time, I have come to recognize the place they hold in my life and albeit contrasting, I have found them to have surprisingly similar impact. Faith offers courage in moments of insecurity and nature soothes in times of anxiety. In efforts to hold the two close to me I have ended up with a collection of small works involving arts and tiny experiments. The lack of tangibles in the supernatural inspires me to paint and get crafty while the natural brings me joy by observing growth in plants.

In this exhibit, I showcase a set of two paintings. The first is a representation of the Lord Ganesha playing classical instruments. Ganesha is a Hindu God and is considered to bring good luck and remove obstacles from one’s life. He is prayed to first before any other deity in a prayer ceremony and is believed to provide smooth sailings in any venture one might undertake. The second painting is of his ‘Vahana’ or his vehicle, the mouse. Vahanas in Hindu mythology serve their Gods. Most Hindu gods have an animal as their Vahana that takes them from realm to realm. In this portrayal I have tried to play around with the traditional roles of a master and a servant and depicted the Gods entertaining their Vahanas for a change. The mice are portrayed as enjoying a moment of respite from all the traveling around while the Gods play music for them. 

Irrespective of one’s faith, the symbolism of deities is what I find is thought provoking. For those of us with exclusive scientific beliefs, there is plenty that nature offers to derive from it. In the tiny experiments at home – I have pothos (alternately called as devil’s ivy or the money plant) growing in water with one supported by a massive root system.


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Nupur Jain is a 5th year PhD Candidate at Brown in the School of Engineering. She carries out research in the field of Materials Science. Arts is her outlet for creative expressions which she has found to be essential for her wellbeing – it’s a great way to feel fulfillment and uphold one’s sense of self.

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