Art Inspired By Faith

From dust to dust. Or in this case from the clay dredged from the bottom of the holy Ganges, and back to its murky depths. The journey of Goddess Durga, believed to be her annual sojourn in her maternal home, is a metaphor for impermanence and temporality. Of all life. But also, in the sacred ritual that…

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Paris – Oddly Juxtaposed

The integrity and identity of historic urban spaces the world over, is under threat from unbridled growth and global integration.  Especially in third world countries, where cultural heritage takes a back seat to new found aspirations of development & progress, despite the efforts of conservation groups. But when managed sensitively, it is the very contradictions…

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The Gilded Bas Relief Of Wat Mai

Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham on Sisavangvong street, was once the principle royal monastery, the residence of the chief Laotian Buddhist dignitary (Phra Sangkharat), and the repository of the 33″ high, gold alloy Buddha icon (Phra Bang), that Laung Prabang derives its name from. It also once held the famed Emerald Buddha, that was moved to Vientiane, before being carted…

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A Passion For Egypt

Plundered art and antiques, should rightfully be returned to their countries of origin and displayed in situ. So I believed, very passionately, until I learned of the burning of the Institute d’Egypte, near Tahrir square in Cairo in December 2011. And of the destruction of almost all the precious manuscripts it contained. Among them, it…

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The Simplicity Of Perfection!

How do I begin to define a structure that is more iconic brand than historic monument? A name that instantly conjures up romance and grandeur even when claimed by a humble tea stall, let alone some of the finest hotels and resorts? And whose Chinese made plastic likenesses outnumber the citizens of this overpopulated land? The Taj…

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The Magnificent Mausoleum Of Humayun

To the debate of wasps the dialectic of monkeys the chirping of statistics it offers (tall pink flame made of stone and air and birds time in repose on water) the architecture of silence” ~ Translation “El Mausoleo de Humayún by Octavio Paz Any experienced traveler should know better than to visit monuments that generate…

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Paris – A Hi-Tech Mashrabiyya

Drawing inspiration from traditional Islamic Mashrabiyyas (Lattice worked enclosures), architect Jean Nouvel designed this fantastic facade for the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. That elevation isn’t just decorative though. It is in fact a giant ocular device. Its several hundred light sensing diaphragms regulate the amount of light penetrating the building by altering the size of their apertures….quite…

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The Citadel Of Art

There are no massive city gates to welcome you here, or stone covered causeways over gigantic moats to traverse. But what Banteay Srei – Khmer for Citadel of the Women* – lacks in monumental scale and significance, it makes up for with its exquisite sculptural adornment. Each intricate, carved inch of its centuries old, pink sandstone…

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The Patterns Of Wat Sene

The Wat Sene Souk Haram (from the Sanskrit Sukharam) also known as the temple of 100,000 treasures, is one of many beautiful temples in Luang Prabang. Its facade and doors are heavily gilded and every inch of space on its walls, columns and even under its roof is covered with stenciled patterns. The secondary structures…

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