THE MEANING OF HAATHI
ہاتھی (/ha:θi/) [h-ar-th-i]
I've always been inspired by beauty. Never on a superficial level, but more so as a concept; an interpretation and what it means to different people. What constitutes "beauty"? And why does it have such an overwhelming power over us?
There are no words in the human language to convey the true meaning of beauty in its entirety. For the sake of this post, let's call beauty an idea. I call it an idea because beauty is simply a culmination of our thoughts, emotions and desires. Something that exists only in our minds. This is such a vast, never ending subject because this "idea" is a solid part of us as human beings. All over the world this concept moves, drives and even destroys us every day. What may constitute beauty in one culture, may repulse another. From women in China binding their feet to the Kayan Lahwi women wearing brass coils to elongate their necks, every culture has their own perception of this idea that connects us as human beings. This tells us that beauty is not bound to any physical thing - it is an idea. An invention and interpretation of each individual human mind that stirs something within us.
A lot of people have already asked me, why the name "Haathi"? If you haven't guessed yet, it means elephant. I'm not of Indian origin and have absolutely no ties to the country, other than the source of inspiration that led me here - The Elephant Festival in Jaipur, Rajasthan. One day of the year where owners decorate these glorious creatures in headdresses and colourful scarves, painting intricate patterns on them... A festival I've unfortunately since learnt raises issues with animal cruelty. But this act of beautifying an already beautiful creature lit a spark of an idea, a collaboration with creation, an injection of imagination. Why not take the patterns of a butterfly and put them onto an animal to play with this idea of beauty? To create my own version of a distorted evolution, if you will.
After Haathi, the family began to grow; with each creation developing it’s own unique personality and meaning. In King’s eyes I saw his power, in Sher’s I saw his unpredictability and in Sasha’s I saw her kindness. In these animals I began to recognise qualities that represented different aspects of our inner worlds and, more importantly, the recognition of these qualities encouraged me to learn and to grow as a person. These creations became lessons intertwined with ornate beauty.
So this is what you are seeing here; my vision of "beauty". A small part of me, my soul and my interpretation of the world and this "idea" translated onto a piece of paper. This isn't to be confused with saying these drawings are beautiful, or that they are more beautiful than the animals themselves in all of their natural glory. This is a hand drawn pathway for other people to experience this "idea" and perception through my eyes and mind.
Love, Faye xo