Vinay’s image is about his mother who lives in India. The image is inspired by a pilgrimage that he took with her during March 2008.Â The altar at the center of the image represents the spiritual ceremony of Agnihotra that he is now taking on in his life.Â He told me that the wood from which the words are shaped is sandalwood that is usually burned in the pot. To this, clarified butter and incense are added to help it burn along with chanting in Sanskrit. The burning is meant to purify one’s environment as well as one’s inner state. Vinay told me that he had never used the colored sand in this way before but it is quite common in Southern India to see intricate patterns outside many homes.
Vinay shared with me how his mother never gives up on things she believes in. She held on to her spiritual beliefs even when there was no support to pursue them. When his father died she carried on and even supported his sister as she was going through brain surgery.Â And she never gives up on Vinay, particularly when it comes to helping him find a wife. When all the other members of his family have written his search off, she perseveres and helps him find his heart’s desire.
There was something touching about watching this grown man get down on his knees and use colored sand to create art for his mother. I like how Vinay feels supported by his mother in getting what he really wants.Â There is something inspiring about a woman who knows herself and stands strong in what she believes in.
Click here to see a portrait of Vinay.