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Posted at: May 16, 2018, 12:43 AM; last updated: May 16, 2018, 12:43 AM (IST)

A brush with a pen

A brush with a pen
Malkit Singh and Jagdeep Garcha. Photo: Manoj Mahajan

Amarjot Kaur

At Punjab Kala Bhawan, writer Malkit Singh and artist Jagdeep Garcha spark a lively conversation that touches upon two widely admired art forms. Bridging art with literature and shapes with words, they bring together painting and poetry in a book, titled Jugalbandi… Akhar te Akaar di Jugalbandhi. While one side of the illustrated poetry book bears Malkit’s poignantly worded thoughts, Garcha’s illustrations, on its other side, are visual representations of his dear friend’s poetry. Both art forms run side-by-side, appealing to mind and heart.

Garcha draws a parallel between art and literature. “Words, like shapes, are forms,” he says, while adding, “The medium is different.” He does not undermine the labour that went into making some 70 illustrations. “There’s an illustration for each poem. One has to understand, feel, and realise what the words mean to convey. One has to soak in the experience of it all and then comes the painting. An artist usually is more sensitive to human emotions and visual art has a language of its own,” he says.

Malkit Singh, managing director of Punjab Institute of Cooperative Training, shares that he always wanted to write a book. “I have always wanted to express my views on society, corruption, and the situation of women in this country. We rank third in the list of countries that are unsafe for women,” he says. Ranging from personal narratives to socio-political commentary and familial ties to philosophical broodings, Malkit explores many subjects in his book. Garcha’s brush catches pace with his words. In a poem dedicated to his mother, Malkit writes: Dhuppaan da ni dar mainu, chaawan mere naal ne, loko meri maa dia duwawaan mere naal ne. The heroic couplet meets its visual interpretation. It is a painting of a mother nursing her child in her arms and exudes the comfort and protection there is in a mother’s embrace. The painting and poem make it hard to conclude if the poem compliments the art or otherwise. It must cause one to crumble under pressure, just the very act of interpreting words and translating them to art, we ask Garcha. He replies, “The only way is to feel constantly, reminding oneself of the intensity of thought that may have inspired that literary creation. In the course of consistently feeling, you understand. When you understand, you realise. That realisation becomes art.” Throughout the book, poetry and painting go hand in hand, except six poems that are independent of Garcha’s illustrations.


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