‘I See Music’, the Autumn Salon 2021 which opened at Matti Sirvio Art Galleria on October 9, is a musical feast where the melodies flow forth via invisible artistic waves, and each frame demands attention to its distinct yet distinguished presence.
Did you hear an accordion bellow forth a jazz number or hear the beats of a tabla unleash a rhythmic frenzy… Was there something sinister about the symphonies hidden behind the abstract splashes of colour or a more intense meaning to the intricate patterns with nail and string. Your stride within the gallery suddenly gets manipulated without your own consent and you soon realise getting trapped in a realm where you see music in a new avatar.
There’s a soothing choral ensemble, the deadly hiss of a vicious serpent, melancholic melodies camouflaged with earthy hues, pleasant sounds from nature, and you feel the rain, you see through the thicket, you ascend the hills and soar to the skies, and nothing stops you. A walk around this unique exhibition is not just a treat to the eyes, it’s music to the ears. You need to stop by and hear – no, see music!
Curator and proprietor of the gallery, Matti Sirvio, known for his penchant for the extraordinary and bizarre, went through crazy weeks conceiving, delegating, sorting through, and settling for his final score. On display are the works which not just conformed to his brief but also automatically slipped into their appropriate spot. There are also a few which, perhaps, jostled with his own reckoning and demanded inclusion – and he let them in with a wink.
“Music is a sophisticated way of communication. It’s much more powerful than what we are used to think. I just returned from Finland – during the summer, I had a lot of opportunities to hike in the nature and listen to the heart beat of my motherland. I heard the birds sing and the mosquitoes buzz.
But a different kind of music filled the hills, trees and the rivers. It was the music that you cannot hear, but you could see it. I saw the sound of the nightless nights, the choirs of the grass growing together. I saw the silence of the arctic ocean, beating it’s presence to the shores. This is what our latest exhibition is about,” he said, adding, “Artists from fifteen different countries are visualising their encounter with music.”
About the musical mandate for entries for the Autumn Salon 2021, Sirvio said, “The artists were asked to imagine beyond musical symbols and pictures of instruments. Some of the works received are beautiful examples of an artistic talent to go beyond the superficial concepts and representations.”
He had a special liking to some of the works which included those of Majid Juma al Amri, Rasha al Adali and Bushra al Harthy who aptly captivated the concept in their works. The same was about the work of Rebeca Nigrinis from Columbia, Nikosadat Mirzaghavami from Iran, Alma DeVille from Bosnia and Dr Shalini from India, he said.
Some of the artists in the Autumn Salon also took delight in sharing their own take on the exhibition. Shrikant Akojvar said, ‘Rhythm/Taal’ symbolises (here) the traditional Indian music instrument ‘tabla’. I have used canvas as a medium to balance the form with other design elements. The scattered golden stripes, depict the sound vibrations coming out of the instrument.”
Shrikant admits that he always wanted to pursue music and art since childhood and this exhibition brought forth a semblance of both.
Dr Shalini added ‘Splashes of Life’ to the collection. She says, “Life is all about splashes of sorrow, difficulties, happiness, luxuries, and ups and downs but if you take it positively, you feel music around yourself all the time. This is what I wanted to depict in my painting. To me music is something which soothes your soul. Listening to good music is like meditation which allows you to experience joy – the same is with good art.”
Salamah Zainul Abideen said, “My painting title was ‘Burn’. I think everything we see on a daily basis has music in it. My painting was my way to show there is music in everything, even in the burn. It shows love for loud, deep music.” He adds that the experience taught him a new way to look at art.
Another participating artist, Muna Khalfan said, “My first photo reveals a heart with two lovers within – it makes me feel a love story. My second photo indicates a snakes tone – it gives me a sense of music even while viewing a cobra. Both these works are aerial views which give you a feel of music and are openers to one’s imagination.”