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.