BENGALURU: Most of us have grown up seeing colourful wide-eyed masks, be it at fairs as children or during dance festivals. But we are so used to seeing Drishti Bommais, as they are called, that we have very little idea about what they truly are and where they come from.
These are colourful wide -eyed masks, often with prominent moustache, fangs and red, extended tongues. Said to ward off evil-eye or nazar, Drishti Bommais, which literally means ‘eye gazing doll', have played a significant role in harnessing Indian culture, not just from the religious aspect.
From being spotted on trucks to being used as wall decors, the Drisht Bommai’s have come a long way.
And now, for the sake of art, Zen Motion, an initiative of Institute of Experimential Learning that focuses on DIY art and crafts, collaborated with the experimental group Gathr to further this culture.
Gathr consists of four youngsters who try experimenting with unheard concepts to improve the quality of human interaction.
They initially thought of having a pop art workshop but then they thought that when India itself has much culture to be explored, why not try Bommai making workshop. It was a simple curiosity that led to this conclusion. The concept also caters to the idea that art is therapeutic.
“The workshop is three things coming together. First one is the Drishti Bommai, second is the painting and the third is the fusion of pop art,” says Badrinarayanan Seetharaman, co-founder of Gathr. The workshop ‘Gathr Pops the Evil Eye’ was hosted at the Mi Casa Su Casa Koramangala. About 16 people came in and painted the evil looking monster faces in florescent colours. The face canvas was marked with stencils and the participants were expected to fill in colours. The kit was customised by Institute of Experimential Learning.
“We conceptualised it in such a way that even an amatuer who did not know to paint, could easily do so,” says
Mehar Zariwala-, co-founder of the Institute of Experimential Learning.
Gathr ensured some humour before the event where the adverts for the event were one liners with hashtag Drishti Bommai such as “#drishtibommai on the face warding off ill-meaning frandship requests,” with a picture of the painting over the face and another painting on a sofa to “ward off stains”.