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Navarasa

Imagemaking
 

Graphic design

This collection of 9 images represents in an ethereal and minimalistic way the Navarasas (9 rasas) form the Indian aesthetic theory of rasa.

Rasa (रस) (Sanskrit for ‘juice’, ‘extract of a fruit’ or ‘essence’) refers to the finest quality of an object. The term rasa generally refers to the ‘essence’ and emotional qualities crafted into a work of art (or a performance) by the maker and to the response, the contemplation or perception of the artwork evokes in the viewer, or sahṛdaya सह्रदय.

Rasa is said to arise when the sthayibhava, (latent sentiment) in the individual is awakened by their perception of the vibhavas (the stimuli such as the story, the stage and the actors responsible for the awakening). This implies not the production of any new emotion in the spectator, but only the awakening of latent sentiment.

Anubhavas are the deliberate manifestations of feelings on the part of the actor (in accordance with the mood at aim). They consist of the various gestures and glances etc. of the actor which are intended to develop the basic stimulus or the vibhava.

The first design is made out of translucent jade green half circles that smoothly overlap each other to compose a soft shape that grows from a solid center as its curves fade slowly with the background. This composition invokes the Shringaram rasa (शृङ्गारं), the rasa of love, attractiveness and the erotic. The half circles, the overlapping translucent gradients, the shades of green and the light serve as vibhavas to manifest symmetry, repetition, direction, contrast and balance as anubhavas.

The second design is made out of tenuous white spirals that lingeringly develop an optimistic design that bursts in every direction. This composition invokes the Hasyam rasa (हास्यं), the rasa of joy, mirth and laughter. The spirals, the whiteness, the opacity and the brightness serve as vibhavas to manifest scale, spin, direction, balance and hierarchy as anubhavas.

The third design is made out of rigid red squares that one over the other build a vertiginous perspective. This composition invokes the Raudram rasa (रौद्रं), the rasa of fury and anger. The sharp edges, the corners, the opacity and the overlays serve as vibhavas to manifest, perspective, scale, height, direction, proximity and hierarchy as anubhavas.

The fourth design is made out of vertical gray ovals that decadently fall downwards. This composition invokes the Karunyam rasa (कारुण्यं), the rasa of compassion, tragedy and the pathetic. The ovals, the transparency, the distribution and the silhouette serve as vibhavas to manifest direction, movement, flow, balance and symmetry as anubhavas.

The fifth design is made out of rhombus that gradually constitute repellent spikes that reject and deny any contact. This composition invokes the Bibhatasam rasa(बीभत्सं)), the rasa of aversion, disgust and the odious. The rhombus, the gradients, the distribution and the rotation serve as vibhavas to manifest direction, continuity, repetition and texture as anubhavas.

The sixth image is made out of sharp black hexagons that reveal infinitely deep darkness as light sneaks inside the shape from the right side of the image. This composition invokes the Bhayanakam rasa (भयानकं), the rasa of horror, terror, fear and the terrible. The pentagons, the edges and the color black serve as vibhavas to manifest sharpness, continuity, depth, weight and perspective as anubhavas.

The seventh image is made out of overlapping triangles that assemble to build a triangular structure that proudly stands as it gets an epic glow from below. This composition invokes the Viram rasa, the rasa of the heroic mood. The triangles, the light and the ochre/brown color serve as vibhavas to manifest hierarchy, scale, dominance and direction as anubhavas.

The eighth image is made out of light yellow pentagrams that faintly overlap to then dazzle in various divergent directions. This composition invokes the Adbhutam rasa, the rasa of wonder and amazement. The pentagrams, the transparency and the light yellow color serve as vibhavas to manifest pattern, emphasis, symmetry and expansion as anubhavas.

The last image is made out of perpetually white circles that tenuously expand like waves of stillness from its core creating subtle silvery shadows that spread placidity. This composition invokes the Santam rasa, the rasa of peace and tranquility. The circles, the shadows and the silvery white color serve as vibhavas to manifest rhythm, movement, texture, and progression as anubhavas.

The aesthetic theory of rasa is fundamental to many forms of Indian art as it indicates pure experience, which is distinct from empirical feeling. Using this vocabulary in the creative process and being conscious about this theory allows artists to enhance the aesthetic experience and deliver emotions in a more effective way.