Music and art are both synonymous with expression and communication; both open to infinite interpretations and shaped by our individual experiences.
Kamaljeet’s ongoing artwork is based on expressing and interpreting Indian Classical Music (ICM) which has many characteristics, rules and themes to consider. The main elements are Rasa (emotional content), Raga (main melodic characteristics), Tala (rhythm), and Samay (prescribed time of playing). Samay can correspond to the cycle of life as well as the cycle of the day. Each hour represents a different stage of development and is connected to certain emotions.
The last time ICM was interpreted through Art was the Raga Mala miniature paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries where the Rasas and Ragas were personified. Kamaljeet strives to not only reinvent this art form for the 21st century, but to bring a musician’s approach and perspective to convey ICM’s many attributes.
To create the atmosphere and the context when painting, the sound of the Tanpura (an Indian drone instrument, forever present in any Indian classical music) echoes throughout her art studio. It acts much like a prism, in that within the four notes that form its continuous drone, it has the capacity for many notes to be present, representing the many Ragas and emotions in Indian classical music. Next, carefully chosen select recordings of the Raga being interpreted will be played continuously during painting. Kamaljeet is then able to draw upon her wealth of ICM training (she is a disciple of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma), experiences, and emotions and put them into the work.
Her artwork is purely abstract and gives prominence to colour and organic forms. She carefully chooses and researches colours to preserve the essence of the music. She often uses a metallic ground as a base to start on, providing a luminous and light reflective surface for the oil paint. It also represents the potential of seeing many colours from one, much like viewing white light through a prism or hearing many notes within the drone of the Tanpura. Every painting is made of a multitude of thin, meticulously dried washes, which serve in adding depth and sense of space.
To recreate the process and ambiance for the viewer when the work is completed, a Tanpura drone usually accompanies the paintings. When possible, audio recordings of the raga in the work are played alongside the paintings, usually the very same pieces Kamaljeet used when creating the work.
Kamaljeet brings a unique and profound perspective as a musician. This enables her to create a visual interpretation of Indian Classical Music that explores all elements of the music, something previously unexplored in this realm.
2002 – 2005 Leeds Metropolitan University – BA Hons Fine Art
2000 – 2002 Leeds Collage of Art and Design – AVCE Art and Design
2012 Ragas of the Guru Granth Sahib – SikhLens – Chapman University, Orange, US
2011 Sound of Science – Bradford Playhouse, Bradford, UK
2011 Sublime – Holy Trinity Church, Leeds, UK
2011 Kamaljeet Ajimal – The Butterfly Rooms Gallery, Saltaire, UK
2008 Art Walk – The Coach House Gallery, Wakefield, UK
2007 Limited Limitlessness – 42 New Briggate Gallery, Leeds, UK
2006 Into the Light – The Venue, Leeds, UK
2006 Kamaljeet Ajimal – Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK
2015 Music and Art – LA Artcore, Los Angeles, USA
2009 Journey into India – North Light Gallery, Huddersfield, UK
2007 Miniatures – 42 New Briggate Gallery, Leeds, UK
2007 Manasamitra – Part of the IIFA Awards, UK
2006 Popup – South Square Gallery, Thornton, Bradford, UK
2005 Fine Art Degree Show, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK
2012 Future Frontiers – Himalaya Song, Sundance Film Festival, Utah, US
Kamaljeet worked extensively in the education field from 2008 to 2011, while working as the Visual Arts Manager for a South Asian arts organisation called Manasamitra. Here she put together visual arts projects for all age ranges and abilities that stemmed from not only her fine art background but also her craft experience from her Indian heritage. As well as creating, managing and delivering stand alone art projects, she often had to devise way of combining arts forms, that included dance and music, to broaden the cultural experiences of the participants. Below is a small list of projects that she was involved in –
The Ethnic Range
The Ethnic Range was a short non-accredited programme aimed at 14 to 16 year old female participants from Freeston Business and Enterprise College in Wakefield identified as being at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) on leaving school. The aim was to identify young peoples barriers to learning through a creative programme which encouraged progression into further education.
This project involved Coates Lane Primary School and Creative Partnerships and was about widening the cultural experiences of the children and to challenge and engage them in fun and exciting ways to reach curriculum targets within English.
Using traditional Indian art, crafts and dance and culture the children were able to bring the stories that were being taught to them alive in new ways, feeding their creativity, stimulating their thinking and giving them the confidence to effectively participate in all aspects of learning. The project ended with a sharing of what they learned and made with their school and parents.
Short Breaks with disability – Batley
This project involved Young peoples Services who support young people between the ages of 12-18 of all abilities. This series of workshops used painting, textiles and collage to expose the participants to new cultural experiences, many of which had some form of mental disability.
Sure Start – early years work in Calderdale
Sure start is a UK Government area-based initiative with the aim of “giving children the best possible start in life” through improvement of childcare, early education, health and family support, with an emphasis on outreach and community development. This series of workshops was a combination of art and dance, that exposed children to moral based stories rooted in Indian culture. Stories were acted out through dance and interpreted through art, this combination not only taught them about morals, but increased their motor and memory skills as well as imagination, concentration and the ability to work as a group.
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