To be alive is to evolve.

Perfectly Imperfect or Imperfectly Perfect? This Paper ‘Performance’ is inspired by the Japanese concept of ‘Wabi Sabi’.

“It’s our imperfection that make us unique, and our uniqueness that makes each of us beautiful.

A knowing that we are just fine-
Just As We Are”

One paper alive in many folds.

It’s amazing how enfolding ONE sheet of paper, no cut-copy-paste, can create the drama of forms and dimensions. All in real time. Live!

It brings me closer to the dynamic movement and impermanence of nature and life. The fluidity in constantly creating, dissolving, recreating, dissolving. Nothing is fixed.

The Light in Wabi sabi lies in its profound simplicity-

“We are all work in progress.

To be alive means to evolve.”


©️aiyanagunjan.enfolding series. videoart.wasli handmade paper. 2021.

contemporaryartist #wabisabistyle #inspired. #paperfolding

Paper painting or performing art?

The art of enfolding paper feels more like a ‘performing’ art! Just like playing an instrument, the experience lies in the continuity of live-movement, not an end product.

It’s about the moment- in creating and experience !

A new perspective, a new experience around non-performing art!

Yet another ‘performance’ by the same paper painted, in enfolding process. My paper seems to come alive, under the spot light-
in folds, in movement.

Paper Performing Art

A tread uphill
to touch a new height.
Enfolding, circling
around the contours
to discover a centre
known not before
Diving deep in
the abysm within
Lost and dark
it seems

Only to awaken
to the Light

The Moonwalk Dance.

©️aiyanagunjan.2021. Video art. PerformingPaper. Wasli paper. calligraphy pen. Ink.

©️aiyanagunjan.2021. enfolding. calligraphy strokes.

Art lies in crumpling

Crumpled paper ends in a dustbin. That’s what one did till I discovered art of crumpling.

Unlike the fixed folds in tessellation, crumpling gives flexibility and freedom to create organic lines and form. Free-willy.

lines and form pulled out from crumple

Its fascinating to work with this ‘mouldable’ paper- just like clay. Here my sculpted paper sitting on my ceramic pen stand. A face creased in thought, with hair flying wild! So it seems.

A new exploration of my paper-painting taking a new expression in paper-pottery. The exciting part of exploration is you don’t know what comes next and where it leads you.

And the fun lies in this method in madness.


Exploring 2D-to-3D

Sculpting paper

Aren’t we constantly seeking another dimension to give us a new perspective, a new insight into the matter.

This time it was my hands itching to play in 3D. Sadly, clay and the potter’s wheel were far from reach. So I turned back to my good old pen and paper, searching for the 3rd dimension.

Where there is a will, one surely finds a way. Sometimes constraints push you to find another way out, a new method or material…

And I found light in origami folds. I never thought there was an art of crumpling and crushing!. My first experience of sculpting in paper. This adds a new dimension to my love for working with paper . I call it my ‘paper-pottery’!

Art is an exploration where the mind really don’t know where it is taking you. The mind simply surrenders to the intuitive flow of art n life. The joy lies in the hand-heart- head united in the flow.

#contemporaryartist #process #sculpting #paper#calligraphystrokes #artlife #indigo

My LockdownBook 2020

Text on text, day by day, page by page, dipping my calligraphy pen in the ink pot, and penning words of wisdom and inspiration- Bible on Bhagwad Gita sacred book.

Bible verses on Bhagwad Gita

And that’s what grounded me, sustained me through those trying pandemic times.

Sharing a few pages of life lived in those strokes, bound by the book. Perfectly imperfect lockdown life!

lockdownstories #covid #writings #calligraphyart #contemporaryartist

A Himalayan state of being

Often life crushes us down, squeezing us out of our own form. A form we recognise no more- crumpled, constricted, crushed. A form that is no longer Me. We cry, we fret, we struggle over how to iron those creases n folds and get back to the old shape.

Little do we know that life is sculpting a new form. The ups and downs, one fold after another, seems like the majestic Himalayan range enfolding in our life! No more flat, no more straight. The folding-enfolding by life actually adds newfound dimension, beauty and strength.

A Himalayan state of being!

My new exploration of enfolding my all-time favourite paper, calligraphy strokes and indigo.


Life is never flat nor straight. The drama plays out in the folds and creases of emotions- sometimes constricting, sometimes expanding, sometimes falling, sometimes risings, sometimes in order, sometimes all crumbled up. And in that lies the beauty and naturalness of life.

It made me reflect. Why should my paper be flat? It was interesting to learn that origami folds actually add strength to paper.

Continue reading “Folding-en-Folding”

Wasli: the 10th century living tradition

Wasli Paper

No screen can beat the touch and feel of paper. I am all ready to rock and roll with my new roll of Wasli Paper. There is something so special about it this humble sheet of paper. Wasli is a natural hand-made paper, made in layers.

Unlike the rough textured handmade papers, my calligraphy pen glides so smoothly on Wasli. It’s the hand-crafted technique of burnishing the paper ( rubbing the paper with Agate stone) that creates the smooth surface. It was devised in 10th century, specially used for miniature paintings and calligraphy.

It’s interesting to learn the word ‘Wasli’ has Persian origin meaning coming together, oneness. For me, it’s been a ‘coming together’ of handmade paper, ink and pen.

.#wasli #handmade #paper #material #burnishing #calligraphy #studio #contemporaryart #traditional #handcrafted

Handwriting a passé?

In today’s tech savvy world, everything can be created-re-created on the Mac machine. Nothing is impossible. I was intrigued when my artist friend gushed over Pro-create App. She updated me on this magic creative tool – every effect of painting medium can be brought alive with digital pen and screen. Imagine painting with watercolours without water, colours, paper and brushes. The tech wonder of the world seemed exciting, empowering, efficient but I felt it was robbing me of something.

It made me think from the perspective of the primary function of a computer – typing, lettering, writing. I ask myself – is the handwriting, the ink-pen a passe ?

I m a very pen and paper person. I used to miss writing with my ink-pen with computers taking over. That was till I found calligraphy.

My oblique cut nib qalam dips in ink-pot, pauses and then dances on paper . It unites my head, heart and hand ih in the flow of the pen. The experience of writing is so different from the incessant typing on the keyboard. The computer sucks me in its vortex, draining me; while the touch and feel of pen- paper calms me. I rejoice in the beauty of the ink-infused stroke on paper.

There is something intangible and authentic in hand-work, may it be any medium. Tech is an enabler making the process efficient and replicable. It cannot be a substitute to the organic flow of hand-work or vice a versa. Rather the two got to compliment each other.

My calligraphy pen and Mac work in tandem, complementing each other, in the mechanics and beauty of the written matter. And that makes me happy.

#handwriting #inkpen #calligraphylettering #contemporaryart #writing #computer #digital #modern#technology #handheart

TGIH: Thank God I’m Home

The Year 2020 has created the biggest cultural disruption at the Home front. Suddenly the house got transformed in form and functionality. Never before have we spent so many waking and sleeping hours at home.

All these years we took the home for granted. We fulfilled our dream of bigger-better-beautiful homes but hardly had the time to spend at home. In and out home, we were, 24×7 running, here and there and everywhere. It was as if life happened out of the home – in our great rush for gold and glamour. That was the historic Pre-Pandemic times.

Work From/For Home: Conferencing n Cooking

Come Pandemic, all the action was forced to shift in-home; everyone and everything grounded. Home became like the central nervous system, connecting all the live wires of work, eat, pray, sleep, study play- all happening under one roof. Home became the safe haven, holding us, protecting us, within its four walls. It suddenly felt like hiding in the bunkers during wartime.

Right from the times of prehistoric cave-dwellers, the home has been a primordial icon of human existence. In the 70s, Roti, Kapda aur Makaan ( food, clothes and house) became the popular slogan, capturing the Indian sentiment for the 3 basic necessities of life. A house, a roof over the head, is the fundamental need and right of life. On the other end of the spectrum, the size and address of the house is a status symbol. At an emotional level, a home is a place of being myself with my near and dear: a place of comfort and refuge. For an immigrant in search of a sense of belonging, home-land defines identity.

The Pandemic makes me ponder over the concept of ‘Home’ – an oft taken for granted place. It made me examine its meaning and symbolism from a physical, social, cultural and spiritual perspective.

Home Centred.

As I dwelled upon home, it reminded me of our family song, in praise of a beautiful home. I have grown up singing this prayer song together on family functions and festivals. It’s part of our family tradition, passed down the generations. I not just loved the melody but also the lyrics celebrating the ‘Beautiful House’ in which the Supreme Lord speaks.

Thinking around ‘home’ made me decode the lyrics as a cultural text. What fascinated me was the layers of meanings interwoven: the literal and the connoted. One at the level of the house as a physical entity, and the other at the metaphoric level of a house as a human body. Decoding the lyrics of this song, sung in praise of the beautiful house, opened the door to the Hindu philosophy of life- connecting the material with the spiritual. I marvelled and felt enriched to understand the deeper meaning in the concept of a home: the universal construct of life and living.

Yeh Bangla Khoob- Lyrics in Hindi.

The song celebrates the beauty and bountiful of a house- a creation of the Supreme Lord. At a deeper level, the house is viewed as the metaphor for human body: as per the Hindu philosophy, the Soul, the eternal self, resides in the home of the physical body.

It asks the question of what the house is made of- the material, the method, and the doer. It goes on to answer the question from the perspective of the Hindu philosophy of life: Paanch Tattva, Teen Gunas and the Supreme Creator.

The bricks of the house, our body, is created from the Paanch Tattva – the five elements of nature- air, water, earth, fire and space. Unlike the concrete, the human body is created from nature, and in nature it dissolves. The mortar are symbolic of the Teen Gunas: Tamas (darkness & chaos), Rajas (activity & passion), and Sattva (beingness & harmony). The interplay of these three Gunas, present in everyone in different proportion, defines the character of nature and determines the progress of life. It’s the innate quality, peculiarities of our nature that binds the being as a whole. The builder and the creator of this beautiful house is none other than the Supreme Creator.

The song goes on to marvel the wonders of the house. The central pillar of the house is symbolic of the Universe: the invisible space that no one can see, flowing in and out. Viewing from the the body perspective, it refers to the lungs, and the invisible breath, inhaling and exhaling. And how wondrous that is. This brings to our awareness the miraculous working of the universe and life, that’s we cannot see and yet it sustains life.

Further the song honours the union of man and woman residing in the house- from where life is born. Saint Kabir, in state of surrender, says that its the Supreme Power that creates and destroys. We are just instruments in the hands of the Creator. At a deeper level, it’s also symbolic of the duality of masculine-feminine energy- YinYang. The balance and harmony in life lies in the dynamic interplay of the opposing yet complimentary forces. Yeh Bangla Khoob. Yeh Bangla Khoob. Sung in praise of a beautiful house, made plentiful, in which the Supreme Lord speaks…

I honour, I salute, I sing in praise of the house I reside in.

I honour, I salute, I sing in praise of the house- my physical body, in which I, my eternal Soul, resides in.