What is The Ramayana in a nut shell?
This commission came in ’96 or ’97, from two friends of mine who had a design company called ‘Brookbrae’ in London. They designed novelty clocks, sculptures, fountains; many different things for big companies all over the world, but sometimes for individuals too.
This particular client lived in England but his land of birth was India and he wanted something unusual to pass down through his family as an heirloom, to remind his children of their heritage. He remembered a clock tower from the village of his childhood that everyone would gather around in the evening to tell stories, and that gave him the idea for a large clock showing the story of the Ramayana.
My job was to condense the Ramayana into a few scenes and paint them on a circular sheet of metal that would be fitted into the mechanism of the clock, behind the clock face. When the hour hand turns, the circular sheet turns with it and the story of the Ramayana can be viewed through a little window in the clock face. I had never used oil paint before, but I wanted to use a medium both durable and rich, so it was the obvious choice. I didn’t make any roughs, but painted straight onto the metal sheet, starting from the first scene, picture by picture until it was finished. I did quite a lot of research for it, in libraries and bookshops, as the internet was not part of my life at that point, but didn’t leave myself very much time to finish the actual artwork in; the paint was still drying when they picked it up!
Then, last autumn I wanted to celebrate Diwali by putting the pictures online and writing a little plotline to go with it, so that was what The Ramayana, in a nutshell was. It wasn’t intended to be a definitive version of the Ramayana, but just a bit of fun to guide everyone through the pictures. Real scholars of the Ramayana will have to excuse the flippancy of my text; my excuse is that I never thought many people would see it, otherwise I would have made it a bit more devotional! For anyone interested, I tell the full story of how the pictures came about in The Ramayana Clock on my blog, and The Ramayana, in a nutshell is the blog following that.
For more on The Ramayana in a nutshell look up: http://imagination-chariot.blogspot.fr/2011/11/ramayana-in-nutshell.html
Hita Hirons studied Illustration at Anglia Polytechnic University in Cambridge, specialising in children’s books. At the same time she became a student of the world renowned spiritual master Sri Chinmoy, who encouraged her in leanings towards meditation, art, music and sport. Hita now lives and works in Montpellier.