Tantra Song: Being in the moment, being bright blue


November 19th, 2014


Last October, my four students and I were immersed in a semester long study of India, when I came across Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan. Immediately, I was struck by the beauty of these works, for their contrast of vibrant shapes and patterns painted on quite obviously deteriorating paper–paper from outside the realm and time of the painting itself. I knew my students would appreciate the dialogue between the actual papers–their unknown histories of stains, tears and general livedness– and the meditative process embodied by the unknown painters to create each work. The tantra paintings created a perfect lesson in process–creating for the sake of being in the moment, immersing oneself in every aspect of her material; my students worked to become in a sense, a single bright blue, or a careful single spiral, on the fragile and weathered pages I’d collected over the years from very old books. My students loved flipping through, wondering about, the pile of old book pages that would become their canvases for immersion. Watching them paint together in the cooling, leafy surroundings of the former side-porch that was our classroom, they fell for long moments into deep, naturally choreographed silence together, but alone, attentive only to the paper, the paint, and answering the questions impossible to articulate otherwise.

—Meg Shevenock




Kip R, age 10











Lela Krackow, age 11








Daniel Branstetter, age 11








Nora R, age 10