Mini Finds Poetry Through Shakespeare's Books

Art student uses acrylic and oil ink-drawn patterns to pick out words from the text

Published: 30th December 2015 04:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th December 2015 04:46 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: A Kiss in Time, a show by city-based artist that blurs the lines between the worlds of art and literature, concludes on Wednesday. The first solo by Mini Giri features acrylic and oil ink-drawn patterns on the Collected Works of Shakespeare, a book she has had for 20 years now, to create found poetry.

Found poetry, compared to a literary collage, is poetry formed using words or lines from another text. The found poet decides where to break the lines or how to arrange the words. The words could be drawn from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters or other poems. T S Eliot’s The Wasteland is said to have used words from Shakespearean theatre and Greek mythology.

Mini.jpgGiri, pursuing art history at University of the Creative Arts, UK, says she fell in love with Shakespeare, poetry “and perhaps love itself” when she was 15, about the time when she bought this book.

“Around a year ago, I began doing found poetry more seriously; it’s a technique used widely to teach literature and poetry but I don’t know of anyone who does it dedicatedly,” she says.

Giri, who earlier taught art to IGCSE and A-level students at her house in Whitefield, took up art ‘commercially’ five or six years ago. She has been a part of a few group shows in Bengaluru.

“But I wanted to wait till I had something substantial, a body of my own work, like before I did a solo show,” she says. And this turned out to be though. She had hardly thought she would put it out for public viewing when she began experimenting.

Mini1.jpgCreative process

“I first form the words and then draw,” says Giri, who also writes poetry for herself nearly every day.

So is found poetry harder than the other writing or art she does? “There are more restrictions because the words are given to you. But as for challenging, you could say that of any art.”

Power of Love

The concept, she says, seems to have caught on with visitors. “I’ve seen couples enter separately, but leave holding hands,” she says. Four or five were even inclined to buy it. Her pieces, prints of the patterns on the yellowing pages re-inked, are priced around `35,000.

A Kiss in Time, Mahua Art Gallery, The Collonade, C Level, The Leela Palace, Old Airport Road, from 11 am to 7 pm

Mini Giri’s Note

With the current collection, I’m exploring the Renaissance concepts of romance and love, often unrequited within the context of the 21st Century. Does Shakespearean poetry fit into the 21st century mental construct of love and desire? In the conceptual art space in India, there has been an explosion of art that depicts femininity under attack due to recent socio-cultural contexts. There are boundaries being drawn around gender that only seem to polarise conflict rather than setting contexts that can bring people together. In a time when sexual interaction is of primary importance does poetry and old world romance still hold an appeal?


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