Monday, February 18, 2013

Elephant on the wall behind the sofa

I added an elephant painting to the wall behind the sofa in our living room. I am not sure if this is a painting or the print of a painting. Jerry brought it for me from India in 2009 or 2010. First, I thought I would frame it but in the busyness of doing other things, finding the right frame at the right price was pushed into the background. Meanwhile, I kept thinking and thinking on what I should put there. That was when I started seeing images in blogs of how people were sticking posters and pictures to the wall with Washi tape as a frame. I didn't have any Washi tape so I just used ordinary scotch tape to stick it to the wall. I really love elephants. Since I grew up in Kerala I grew up seeing elephants very frequently. I did a post earlier about a favorite memory of elephants while growing up. But today I will share another memory. When we were kids my dad was really big on making us enjoy the little pleasures of life. So pretty much every week my dad would take us to little trips in and around the city we lived in and show us all the sights. One of those little things was taking us to see the fireworks and elephant procession in the Hindu temple in our city in the middle of the night. We would go in the car and park at a spot from where we could watch the procession of decorated elephants walking slowly to the beat of loud drums and cymbals. This happened during the temple festival. There would be so many elephants, and then the fireworks would illuminate the night sky. After watching that we would come back home and go to bed. This particular elephant is not decorated in the typical way a Kerala elephant is dressed up. This is more of a North-Indian style, I think, although I am no expert in these things. Kerala elephants are decorated with a gold sheild like thing with intricate carvings on it over their trunk and white furry fans called "venchmaram" on their backs. Our iron is not working and so this picture has still fold marks on it. I will fix it later. The wall behind our sofa is big. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of art I should put on those walls. A question I have asked myself a lot of times is should I put one or two big pieces or a collection of smaller ones. I guess I am going with the collection/gallery wall style since that is easier and more us, I guess. I think I would love to have an print of a Grant Wood painting of grey skies curving over yellow corn fields, or the picture of little Iowa style houses with sloping roofs, brightly painted wood siding, dainty pathways and rolling little hills or pictures of a barn or silo against a clear blue sky since that is so Iowa. I want our home to reflect who we are so it has to reflect our Indian heritage and our Iowa heritage since we have been here for twelve years. I was introduced to the American Gothic and the Grant Wood style of paintings from our children's art teacher who really encouraged our children to learn and understand the paintings of Grant Wood. Once my husband, myself and our kids even went to see an exhibition of Grant Wood paintings at the University of Iowa Art Museum. It was really amazing. Have a happy President's day! And now if you really have a lot of time you can read a post I did last year about Elephants.
Every time I see the picture of an elephant or a peacock my heart skips a beat. It reminds me of my life in India. When I saw this picture from Johnrobshaw textiles and saw the name of this collection my heart did not just skip a beat but it also stopped for a minute. Guess what the name of this collection is! Kerala. Yeah that is the name of the state I grew up in India. In Kerala, aka God's own country elephants are very common. Elephants used to come on a regular basis to my neighbor's house from the temple. And our neighbors used to give the elephants coconuts and bananas. I with my brothers would watch the elephant eat and then walk away. Sometimes the elephants would cry. Tears would roll down the wrinkled black skin of the elephant and I used to wonder why they cried. Were they missing the forests they really belonged to or were they missing their family?
Sometimes when the temples had festivals there would be fireworks in the midnight and the elephants would go on a procession. All the elephants would be dressed up and their trunks would be covered with a gold thing (I don't know the name of the thing in English, but in Malayalam it is called "nettipattom," I think). The mahout would sit on the top with two white furry fans. Elephant after elephant would parade through the streets to loud drumbeats. This post will be unending if I go on and on about elephants and India's textile heritage. I hope you have a great day! Btw, the pantry is still a work in progress though, yesterday there wasn't much progress.

Source: via Anna on

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