Ravikumar Kashi, “Banana and the Sword”
Artist: Ravikumar Kashi (Bangalore, India)
Title: Banana and the Sword (2012)
Medium/technique(s): Pen and Ink on Hanji paper stained with Japanese Raka
Number of pages: 15
Dimensions: H 4.5” x W 11”
This book is called Banana & the Sword. For quite some time now I have been thinking as to how to connect with ancient book forms of India. Especially I had the palm leaf manuscripts, which date back to 5 century BCE, in my mind. Palm leaf is called ‘Tale gari’ in Kannada. It is not only the book form that interests me but the format of having text and images contributing to each other’s presence, as one can find in many old manuscripts, which has inspired my book. Though my book Banana & the Sword is inspired by the format of the palm leaf manuscripts its content is very contemporary.
The book has been created with Hanji paper from South Korea. I had gone to Jang Ji Bang outside Seoul to learn the process of Hanji from Seong Woo, these papers were made there. It is one of the toughest handmade papers produced and it will survive many hundred years. Because Hanji has been stained with Japanese Raka the ‘old’ feel has come.
In my book while there is a relationship between what is expressed in text and image on each page, images are not treated as illustrations for my text. Each page has text in Kannada (my mother tongue) as well as English, in a way representing the bi-lingual nature of Indians of my generations. We have been brought up with an education policy of the central government whereby every child learns his mother tongue as well as English. I write in both the languages on each page though they are not translations of each other.
Banana and the Sword is about burning desire, eagerness to acquire, aggression, fear and stringing little dreams. But all these are indicated with the help of day to day objects. The mundane acquires fresh meaning because of the unusual associations.